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Merz, John Theodore, 1840-1922. 

A history of European thought in the nineteenth century, 
by John Theodore Alerz ... Edinburgh and London, W. 
Bhickwood and sons, 4003-14: 1907-14 . , 


4 V. 21 cm. 

Vol 1 :>runaltered edltIon,-iee4: 1^07 . 

Contents. — pt. I. Scientific thought, 2 v. — pt, II. Philosophical 

thought, 2 V. 

■€opy-iTi^-Eurgess-.~1907-14*. — 4-- v. 

1. Philosophy, Modern— AfltT 2. Science— Hist. i. Title. 





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I HAD originally intended to publish the two volumes 
which should form the second section of this work, 
dealing with the History of Philosophical Thought during 
the Nineteenth Century, together. With this intention I 
wrote the text of both volumes, with the exception of a 
closing chapter. When, however, after the lapse of many 
years I returned to the revision and the working up of 
the notes and references, I found that in the meantime 
the whole subject had in my own mind acquired a some- 
what altered aspect, and that to give expression to this 
I had to introduce important changes and additions. As 
to carry these out much more time was required than I 
had expected, I have given way to the wish of some of 
my friends, as also to my own growing conviction, that it 
would be better to publish the third volume by itself and 
let the fourth follow as soon as possible. I cannot help 
feeling that this is somewhat unfair to my readers and 
critics, as the whole subject cannot so easily be divided 
into separate tolerably independent parts as seemed pos- 
sible in the first section. I have, however, missed no 




opportunity which offered to point incidentally to the 
leading ideas which have guided me in this review of the 
Philosophical Thought of the Century, and which should 
come out more clearly and be brought to a final ex- 
pression in a following volume. I have also, to facilitate 
the study of the subject, added a preliminary index 
which, when the fourth volume appears, will be cancelled 
to make place for a more comprehensive index covering 
both volumes. 

As in the earlier volumes, I have again been assisted 
by the advice and encouragement of many friends. To 
the names given before I wish to add that of Prof. 
W. E. Sorley of King's College, Cambridge, to whose 
valuable suggestions I have, as will be seen, referred in 
several instances. I must again express my deep sense 
of obligation to Mr Thos. Whittaker, B.A., whose assist- 
ance has in this section exceeded in importance, if possible, 
even that which he had so fully given me in the earlier 

The fourth volume will continue the plan described 
in the Introduction to this volume by adding chapters. 
Of the Beautiful, Of the Good, Of the Spirit, Of Society, 
Of Systems of Philosophy, and will close with a summary 
on the general outcome of Philosophical Thought during 
the Nineteenth Century, 


The Quarries, 
Newcastle-upon-Tyne, November 1912. 




Common -sense and speculation, 3 ; Language the instrument of common- 
sense, 3 ; New terms in philosophy, 4 ; Creative and critical eras, 6 ; 
Contrast between philosophical and scientific thought, 8 ; Seen especially 
in language, 10 ; The precept of science and that of philosophy, 12 ; Ex- 
ternal object common to all ; internal, peculiar to the observing subject, 
13 ; Outer world in space ; inner world in time, 13 ; Distinction, how- 
ever, not hard and fast, 15 ; Either language or bodily sensation can 
furnish a point of union, 15 ; Psycho- physical view of nature, 17 ; Kantian 
Idealism the antithesis to this, 18 ; Both methods overreach their limit, 

19 ; Their permanent value, 19 ; Transition to the social point of view, 

20 ; A characteristic tendency of recent thought, 21 ; Biology and the 
history of origins, 22 ; Reality added by thought to natural things, 24 ; 
Twofold aspect of the Real first recognised by Plato, 25 ; Mediseval 
philosophy and the modern break with it, 27 ; Community between Kant 
and Plato, 28 ; Evolution and the power of words, 30 ; The social point 
of view in history, 31 ; Application to the history of thought, 33 ; Difier- 
ences as well as uniting ideas not to be neglected, 34; New point of 
view required, 34 ; Contrast to be dealt with, 34 ; Philosophical con- 
trasted with scientific method, 35 ; Histories of philosophy, 37 ; Kuno 
Fischer, 39 ; National and international work in science and philosophy, 
41 ; Auguste Comte, 43 ; English empiricism, 43 ; Social point of view 
in France and England, 43 ; Absence of the same in Germany, 44 ; 
Psychological, metaphysical, and positive interests, 45 ; A new char- 
acter of philosophical thought in the century, 47 ; The term Criticism 
as used by Kant, 48 ; Criticism and history, 49 ; Growth and diffusion 




of the critical spirit, 50 ; Hegel and Spencer, 51 ; Intermediate position 
of philosophy between science and religion, 52 ; Monistic doctrines, 52 ; 
Attempts at reconciliation of knowledge and belief, 54 ; Dualism in 
philosophic systems, 55 ; Plan of this history, 56 ; Character and aims 
of philosophical thought, 59 ; No consensus as to philosophical methods, 
60 ; Philosophy is interested, science disinterested, 62 ; Philosophers as 
educators and reformers, 64 ; Problems of science are many, problem of 
philosophy is one, 65 ; Renunciation in recent philosophy, 66 ; Reversion 
to common-sense, 68 ; "Scientific Philosophy," 69 ; Direction of Herbart 
and Lotze, 71 ; E. Zeller, 71 ; Wilhelm Wundt, 72 ; iDfluence of Schop- 
enhauer, 74 ; Materialism of the " Forties," 76 ; Schopenhauer's pessimism 
an accident, 77 ; Realism of Nietzsche, 78 ; Comte's sociology, 80 ; 
Temporary decline of philosophic interest, 81 ; Hints of its revival, 82 ; 
"Voluntarism," 83 ; Relation of recent philosophy to religion, 87. 



Reversal of the position of science and philosophy, 91 ; Causes of the change, 
93 ; Anarchy of recent philosophy, 93 ; Critical spirit, 95 ; Narrower 
and wider sense of criticism, 96 ; Germany the home of criticism in the 
wider sense, 98 ; Attempts to apply exact methods to philosophy, 100 ; 
Reason of their failure, 101 ; Contrast between unities to which phe- 
nomena of nature and inner life are referred, 103 ; Loss of synoptic view 
in recent philosophy, 104 ; Sapping effect of critical spirit, 105 ; How 
has science escaped ? 106 ; The escape has not been complete, 106 ; 
Reasons why science has not succumbed, 107 ; Peculiar strength in their 
practical utility, 109 ; Besides, man cannot judge nature, 109 ; Criticism 
a reflection of the mind on itself, 110 ; Three critical periods, 110 ; From 
the last we have not yet emerged. 111 ; Its methodical character, 112 
Obstructions to it, 113 ; Winckelmann's reform of art by criticism, 114 
Ideal of humanity: its phases, 115 ; Lessing's revival of Spinoza, 118 
Kant and Spinoza the poles of German thought, 119 ; Spinoza and 
German idealism, 121 ; Spinoza, Lessing, Kant, and the Higher Criti- 
cism, 123 ; Representative higher critics, 127 ; Gottingen and the critical 
spirit, 127 ; Criticism an instrument of education, 130 ; Diflference of 
philosophical and historical criticism, 131 ; Two modes of treatment in 
classical philology, 134 ; Criticism as practised by Hermann and Ritschl, 
137; Encyclopaedic aims of F. A. Wolf, 138; Sprach - philologen and 
Sach-philologen, 139; Ritschl and Liebig compared, 145; Extension of 
methods from classical to other branches of philology, 146 ; Bopp and 



Grimm, 147 ; Extension to historical studies, 148 ; Broader view of 
history since Niebuhr, 150; Leopold von Ranke, 151 ; Ernst Curtius, 
152; Theod. Mommsen, 156; Political temper in Mommsen, 158; 
Liberation of historical criticism from religious influence, 159 ; First 
application of criticism to religion by Fichte and Kant, 161 ; Schleier- 
macher's Religious Discourses, 162; Criticism of religious origins, 163; 
Eichhorn as successor of Astruc, 164 ; Influence of Hegel, 166 ; David 
F. Strauss, 166 ; F. C. Baur, 170 ; Philosophical criticism : Feuerbach, 
174 ; Humanistic interpretation of Hegel, 174 ; Another interpretation, 
174 ; Materialistic controversy, 176 ; Renunciation of premature solu- 
tions : Lotze, 178 ; Return from metaphysics to psychology : Herbart, 
179 ; Fechner's psycho-physics, 179 ; Neo-Kantism : F. A. Lange, 179 ; 
Influence of Darwin and Riemann, 180 ; Unsettlement due to criticism, 
182 ; Philosophical thought outside Germany, 183 ; French and Eng- 
lish philosophy little known in Germany, 183; French and English 
philosophy uncritical in the German sense, 184; The philosophy of 
Renouvier, 185 ; Recent critical tendency in England, 186 ; Cousin's 
Eclecticism and philosophy of Common-sense, 186 ; Philosophy becoming 
international, 187 ; Criticism the common meeting-ground, 188. 



PhQosophical and scientific thought again contrasted, 192 ; Aim at unifica- 
tion, 193 ; General conceptions ancient and modern, 194 ; Words mark- 
ing leading philosophical problems, 195 ; The problem of the Soul or 
Psychology, 196 ; The * Seelenfrage,' 197 ; Problems centering in this, 
200 ; Empirical and rational psychology, 200 ; At the beginning of the 
century rational psychology mainly studied in Germany, 202 ; Empirical 
psychology chiefly British, 202 ; French physiological psychology, 203 ; 
Herbart, 204 ; Conceptions introduced by Herbart, 207 ; Exact method, 
208 ; Beneke, 208 ; British introspective psychology, 209 ; Attempt to 
base psychology on elementary scientific principles, 211 ; Errors of this 
procedure, 212 ; Association psychology, 215 ; James Mill's mental 
chemistry, 218 ; Alex. Bain, 218 ; Want of system in British philosophy, 
219 ; University teaching in Scotland, 221 ; Philosophy of common- 
sense, 224 ; British ideas carried over to France, 227 ; Reaction and 
development, 230 ; De Tracy and the idea of activity, 231 ; Maine de 
Biran, 232 ; Royer Collard and Cousin, 235 ; Influence of Kant and of 
German idealism, 236 ; Kant and psychology, 237 ; Epistemological 
development in Germany, 243 ; Kant's psychological programme, 248 ; 


The way out of individualism, 248 ; General causes of this movement, 
250; Disappearance of psychology in the older sense, 252; Individual 
self merged into general self, 255 ; Creation of ideals, 256 ; The educa- 
tional movement, 256 ; The political movement, 257 ; Return to em- 
pirical psychology, 258 ; J. F. Fries, 258 ; Influence of physiology, 259 ; 
Feuerbach on Hegel, 260 ; Die Seelenfrage, 261 ; International contact, 
262 ; Lotze, 264 ; Approaches philosophy from the side of medicine, 
265 ; Connection with the classical period, 265 ; His psychology, 266 ; 
His circumspection, 267 ; Various lines in recent psychology, 268 ; 
Ribot, 269 ; Morbid psychology, 272 ; ' Mind ' and Croom Robertson, 
275 ; James Ward, 277 ; Avenarius, 282 ; Hartmann, Spencer, and 
Fouillde, 285 ; Spencer's evolutional psychology, 286 ; Idealistic ante- 
cedents of Hartmann and Fouillee, 286 ; The Unconscious iu psychology, 
287 ; Change in vocabulary, 289 ; Stress laid on activity and feeling, 
290 ; Presentation-continuum, 291 ; Anthropology, 291 ; Discontinuity 
— Renouvier, 291. 



Early appearance of the problem of knowledge, 294 ; Re-emergence charac- 
teristic of nineteenth century, 294 ; Fichte's WissenschafislehrCy 295 ; 
Erkenntnisstheorie, 296 ; Renouvier's Neocriticism, 296 ; Agnosticism 
and Pragmatism, 297 ; Preparation in logic and psychology, 298 ; In- 
fluence of current literature and science, 299 ; Effect of the French 
Revolution, 300 ; Later dominance of exact science, 300 ; J. S. Mill, 301 ; 
Influence of social questions, 302 ; Influence of mathematics in France, 
302 ; Reaction in British thought, 304 ; Dispersive character of earlier 
British thought, 309 ; Its want of systematic unity, 311 ; Beginning of 
search for a creed, 312 ; The first episode ends in Agnosticism, 315 ; 
Continental efforts to transcend dualism, 316 ; Two lines of develop- 
ment, 317 ; Union of these, 317 ; Continental thought began with 
scepticism, 320 ; Descartes' constructive effort, 321 ; Mathematical 
methods, 322 ; Spinoza and Leibniz, 324 ; Diverging directions after 
Leibniz, 330 ; Aim at unity in Continental thought, 331 ; Spinoza and 
Leibniz contrasted, 331 ; Leibniz and Bayle, 332 ; Systematisation of 
Leibniz's ideas, 335 ; New way opened by Kant, 336 ; Relation to Locke, 
Hume, and Leibniz, 339 ; Locke and Kant, 340 ; Kant's philosophy a 
central point, 344 ; Relativity of Knowledge, 344 ; The sensible and the 
intelligible, 345 ; The regulative ideas, 346 ; Acceptance of extant body of 
scientific knowledge, 348 ; And of traditional psychology, 349 ; Apparent 
want of unity, 349 ; Criticism predominant, 350 ; Reinhold, 351 ; Criti- 



cism superseded by construction, 355 ; Fichte, 357 ; Fichte representa- 
tive of a new generation, 363 ; Schelling, 366 ; Want of criticism and 
exactness, 367 ; Hegel aims at supplying the want, 371 ; J. S. Mill's 
Logic, 374 ; Ground common to Mill and Kant, 377 ; Sir W. Hamilton, 
379 ; A. Comte, 381 ; Revival and deepening of the historical sciences, 
386 ; Epistemology and exact sciences, 390 ; Greater precision, 391 ; 
Conception of energy, 392 ; Darwin and development, 394 ; Cause and 
effect defined, 397 ; Supersession of astronomical view, 400 ; Plenum 
substituted, 400; Limitation of scientific knowledge, 403; Dualism in 
the problem of knowledge, 406 ; Recognised by Lotze, 406 ; His doctrine 
of Values, 408 ; Hegel's new conception of Logic, 410 ; Reaction against 
this, 411 ; Lotze and English Hegelianism, 412 ; Bradley and Bosanquet, 
414; Lotze and Spencer, 415; The 'Unknowable,' 416; Renouvier on 
Discontinuity and Personality, 417 ; Schopenhauer's Voluntarism, 418 ; 
Overthrow of extreme Intellectualism, 419. 



Epistemology and systems of philosophy, 421 ; Some systems start with 
theories of Reality, 423 ; Interests of academic teaching and of practical 
life, 424 ; Discredit of Metaphysics, 428 ; Revival of Metaphysics, 430 ; 
Necessity of the word, 431 ; The problem of Reality, 432 ; Modern 
problem of Reality centres in Kant, 435 ; The "Thing in itself," 437 ; 
His objection to Idealism, 439 ; His " Categorical Imperative," 441 ; 
Importance of his terminology, 441 ; Fichte on Kant's terms for Reality, 
442 ; Fichte and Schelling, 445 ; "Intellectual Intuition," 445 ; Fichte's 
practical aims, 447; "Self-realisation," 448; Fichte's Absolute is a 
process, 450 ; Schelling, 453 ; His central position in German Idealism, 
453 ; Practical and poetical interests, 456 ; Rehabilitation of Nature, 
458; Formulse of "polarity," 461; Hegel, 464; Philosophy of the 
Absolute Spirit, 466 ; Logical process identified with world -process, 
469 ; Reason of Hegel's success, 471 ; Compared with Bacon, 476 ; 
Meaning of the identification of the Rational and the Real, 478 ; 
Opposition to the monistic tendency, 479 ; Herbart, 481 ; Schopen- 
hauer, 482 ; The term "positive," 487 ; Schelling's positive philosophy, 
488 ; His religious turn, 489 ; New eclectic spirit, 491 ; Lotze, 491 ; 
Defect in historical sense, 494 ; Doctrine of Values, 495 ; Ethics the 
root of Metaphysics, 498 ; Detailed interest in phenomena, 501 ; At the 
summit a religious conception, 503 ; Theory of knowledge and belief, 
505 ; The problem of Reality since Lotze, 506 ; The idea of Personality, 



507 ; The problem of Evil, 508 ; Ethical problems, 509 ; Ethical spirit 
of British philosophy, 510 ; Return of British thinkers to Metaphysics, 
510; Spencer's "Unknowable," 511; Wundt, 513; Lotze's, Spencer's, 
and Wundt's phenomenalism contrasted, 516 ; Fechner and E. von 
Hartmann, 518 ; Return to Ontology in England and France, 523 ; The 
two movements of search in England : Realistic and Idealistic, 527 ; 
Popular influences : the new monthly Reviews, 530 ; Caird, Wallace, and 
Green, 532; Bradley's 'Appearance and Reality,' 533; Bradley and 
Lotze, 534 ; Bradley's opposition to both atomistic and transcendental 
view of Reality, 536 ; His Monism or Absolutism, 540 ; Phenomenalists 
and Ontologists, 542. 



Nature : a metaphysical problem, 544 ; Superseded by empirical studies, 545 ; 
Changes in the thoughts of the age, 546 ; The exact study of Nature, 
547 ; Naturalism of English poetry and art, 547 ; Philosophy of Nature, 
547 ; Importance of this last, 549 ; Laplace, 550 ; Absence of organic and 
subjective factors, 552 ; Biological appeal of Schelling, 553 ; An omitted 
idea : Malthus, 554 ; Afterwards taken up by Darwin, 554 ; Statical 
view of French science, 555 ; Insufficiency of this, 555 ; Vague ideas of 
development kept back by mathematical spirit, 558 ; A premature 
rationale in materialism, 560 ; Biichner, 561 ; Inadequacy, yet popular- 
ity, of " Matter " and " Force," 565 ; Inexactness of the popular term 
Force, 566 ; Lotze's formula regarding mechanism, 570 ; Success and 
failure of Materialism, 570 ; Change in scientific conceptions, 573 ; New 
criticism of fundamental notions, 575 ; J. S. Mill, 575 ; Thomson and 
Tait, Maxwell, 576 ; Kirchhoff, 578 ; Wundt and Mach, 578 ; Clifford 
and K. Pearson, 579 ; Economy of Thought : Mach and Avenarius, 579 ; 
Want of philosophical interest attaching to mechanical theories, 583 ; 
Schopenhauer's philosophical view of Nature, 586 ; Opposed to Paulogism 
and Mechanicism, 587 ; Schopenhauer an idealist and romantic, 589 ; As 
also Von Hartmann, 590 ; The philosophy of the " Unconscious," 590 ; 
The ideal view displaced by the naturalistic, 593 ; Wundt on Actuality, 
595 ; Rise of the problem of Discontinuity, 597 ; Du Bois Reymond, 597 ; 
Haeckel's Monism, 600 ; Loose use by naturalists of physical concepts, 
603 ; Mach on the limitation of mechanical physics, 604 ; Effects of 
modern analysis on view of nature as a whole, 606; Artistic view of 
nature, 610 ; Goethe as representative of the synoptic view, 611 ; This 



view indispensable in science also, 613 ; Double use of the word positive, 
614 ; Fechner and Lotze, 615 ; Lotze's distinction between things, forms, 
and values, 615 ; New problems, 617 ; The problems of the Contingent 
and the Discontinuous outstanding, 619 ; Lachelier and Renouvier, 620; 
Transition to aesthetic and ethical aspects, 625. 








*0 fjL€v yap (rvvoTTTLKo^ 8taXeKTt/co9, 6 8c firj ov. 

— Plato. 

Common-sense, in spite of the obloquy cast upon it in i. 
certain schools of philosophy, still asserts its position as g^g^^i^^fo^, 
the ultimate tribunal before which all speculation has to 
justify itself. It does so by certain distinctions which 
it makes and which every school of philosophy has been 
obliged to recognise : it may be by affirming or denying, 
but in any case by explaining them. 

These distinctions are crystallised and perpetuated in ^ 2. 

•^ ^ ^ Language 

and by that great instrument of common-sense called ^enfof'^' 
language.^ From the words and terms of language we I 


^ With this statement I revert 
to a position distinctly taken up in 
modern philosophy by Thos. Reid 
in the second half of the eighteenth 
century. This position is fully ex- 
plained by Prof. Pringle - Pattison 
in his * Balfour Lectures on Scottish 
Philosophy' — see especially 3rd ed., 
p. 122. " Reid' 8 favourite appeal 
is to common - sense . . . ' the 
consent of ages and nations of the 
learned and unlearned.' . . . Reid, 
however, does not leave his author- 
ity so vague ; he provides his 
scattered and inarticulate multi- 

tude with an accredited spokesman 
and interpreter ; ' we shall fre- 
quently have occasion,' he says in 
the beginning of the Essays, * to 
argue from the sense of mankind 
expressed in the structure of lan- 
guage. ' " The common-sense philo- 
sophy of Reid has been unduly 
depreciated by German philosophers 
such as Kant and Hegel, partly 
owing to the fact that the German 
equivalents for " common-sense ' ' are 
apt to lay stress upon the adjective 
'* common " instead of the noun 
•' sense " ; mainly, however, because 



New terms 
in philos- 


i 1 


have to start if we desire to make our thoughts accessible 
and intelligible to our fellowmen, and, although we can 
put these words and terms together in a more or less 
original manner, we have always to accommodate our- 
selves to the established usage, from which we can deviate 
only to a very small extent. In this way language 
exerts a control over the free movements of our thoughts 
and reflections which is not infrequently felt to be severe 
and irksome, and which is more than ever experienced in 
that great department of literature which is the embodi- 
ment of the philosophical thought of an age. More even 
than in science, we may say that in philosophy progress 
consists in finding an appropriate verbal expression, or, 
having found it, in conveying to our readers the clear 
definition of the meaning we desire to attach to it. 
Looking broadly at the philosophical literature of any 
period, we may divide its main representatives into two 
classes — viz., those who have introduced into the exist- 
ing language new terms, the bearers of thoughts and 
ideas constituting a new message, and those others who, 
taking up these newly imported terms, have tried to 
define them more closely, to prescribe their exact usage, 

neither of them — Kant even less than 
Hegel — seems to have had a sufficient 
acquaintance either with Reid's own 
writings or with the principal work 
of Hume which he criticised. This 
is fully brought out in Henry Sidg- 
wick's Address on "The Philosophy 
of Common-sense" (1895), see 
'Mind,' N.S., vol. iv. p. 145, &c. 
He there suggests that Kant 
was influenced by Priestley, who 
classes Reid along with Oswald and 
Beattie, writers of quite an inferior 
order of merit. W^hen Hegel de- 
livered his Lectures on ' The History 

of Philosophy' (1817-30), Reid's 
writings were principally known on 
the Continent through the influ- 
ence they had acquired on French 
thinkers such as Royer Collard and 
JoufEroy, and are accordingly 
treated with more respect. With 
Hegel the contempt for British 
philosophy seems to have been 
directed mainly against English 
as distinguished from Scottish 
thinkers ; see * Werke, ' vol. xv. 
p. 501 : " Of English philosophy 
there can no more be any 


and, by doing so, to bring home to the common under- 
standing a sense of the deeper meaning or ideal content 
which is embodied in them. 

During the period which covers roughly ninety years, 
from 1780 to 1870, the languages of the western 
European nations have been enriched by a long list of 
new terms.^ Around these, separate philosophical schools 
have grown up which have made them their watchwords. 
These terms have not always been the outcome of abstract 
philosophical reasoning ; they have often been suggested 
by practical demands or borne in the wake of political 
and social movements. Thus the French Eevolution in 
its shibboleths of liberty, equality, and fraternity has 
furnished an inexhaustible material not only for political 
agitation but also for philosophical speculation ever since. 
In the more restricted province of philosophical literature 
itself the names of Adam Smith, Bentham, and Mill in 
this country, of Comte in France, of Kant and his suc- 
cessors in Germany, are connected with well-known words 
and phrases, each of which has enriched common language 
and made whole regions of thought accessible to the 
general understanding which were unknown or unex- 
plored before. "Free trade" and the " wealth of nations," 
the "greatest happiness of the greatest number," the 
" categorical imperative," " intellectual intuition," " posi- 
tivism," the "world as will and intellect," the " ob- 

^ The ' Critique of Pure Reason ' 
appeared in 1781 and gave to the 
world the larger portion of the 
vocabulary of the Kantian system, 
which has played such a great part 
in subsequent German, English, 
and French philosophy. Ab^ut the 

year 1870 I believe the larger part 
of the vocabulary of evolution had 
been formulated. Probably no 
philosophical treatise of any im- 
portance could now be written 
without making free use of these 
two vocabularies. 




jective mind," and the "absolute" are only a few 
examples of the many now familiar words which have 
been introduced by philosophical thinkers into our every- 
day speech. Among the latest creations of the philo- 
sophical genius we may count the terms " unconscious " 
and " unknowable," and more than all " natural selection," 
the "survival of the fittest," and many other terms 
which are peculiar to the doctrine of "Evolution." 
4. The representatives of the creative era of philosophical 

and critical thouffht which terminated with the second third of the 
nineteenth century have been succeeded by a large class 
of thinkers whose principal task seems to be not so 
much to put forward new ideas and brilliant generali^r 
ations as to survey critically and impartially the inherit- 
ance of the past, to put into order the abundant supply 
of new words and terms which it contains, to reduce 
each to its legitimate meaning, defining the limits of its 
usage, and by so doing to promote that unity of thought 
and harmony of expression of which the loss was fre- 
quently threatened by the extreme emphasis, not to say 
the vehemence, with which many of those new ideas were 
put forth at the moments of their birth. A foremost 
representative of this later form of philosophical thought 
is Hermann Lotze,^ who, in a manner following Herbart 

^ As I shall, for various reasons 
which will become evident in the 
sequel, refer to Lotze's philosophy 
as a kind of central point of refer- 
ence for the movement of philosophi- 
cal thought during the century, I 
give here a list of his more import- 
ant works. Lotze was born in 
1817 and died in 1881. His 
activity as a teacher is connected 

with the University of Gottingen, 
and his name will always be 
associated with some of the 
most illustrious professors at that 
University. See, inter alia, Mr 
Haldane's Address, "Universities 
and National Life". (1910), p. 24, 


' AUgemeine Pathologic und 


and inspired by Leibniz, seems to me to have impressed 
upon many of the prominent thinkers in Germany, Eng- 
land, and France of to-day the tone of their thought, 
and suggested the attitude they have taken up to the 
great philosophical problems. 

From the foregoing it might appear as if the process of 
philosophical thought were similar to that which I have 
had occasion to point to in many passages in the earlier 
volumes of this work. I there showed how various 
terms handed down from earlier ages with a vague and 
undefined meaning have been raised to the rank of lead- 
ing ideas by the scientific thought of recent times. Such 
terms were, e.g., "attraction," "repulsion," " atom," "mass " 
and "motion," "energy," "form," "development," &c. 
By being clearly defined — i.e., by having a fixed meaning 
attached to them — they have become centres around 
which the scientific thought of the century has gathered, 
and which have guided us in that survey which this 
History has undertaken. 

It would appear as if an analogous process might guide 
us in our survey of the philosophical thought of the 

Therapie als mechanische 
Naturwissenschaf ten ' (1842). 


Articles — *' Leben," " Lebens- 
straft," "Instinkt," "Seele 
und Seelenleben," in Wagner's 
' Handworterbuch der Physi- 
ologic ' (1843-46). 

' Ueber den Begriff der Schon- 
heit' (1845), and 'Ueber 
Bedingungen der Kunstschon- 

' AUgemeine Physiologic des 
Korperlichcn Lebens' (1851). 

* Medicinische Psychologic oder 
Physiologic der Scele' (1852). 

* Microcosmus,' 3 vols. (1856-64). 

' Streitschriften ' (1857). 

' Geschichtc der Acsthetik in 

Dcutschland' (1868). 
'System der Philosophic' (2 vols. 

'Logik,' ' Metaphysik,' 1874- 

The dictated Notes of his Lec- 
tures were published after his 
death in eight parts, and his 
'Kleincre Schrif ten ' have been 
collected in four volumes and 
edited by Peipers (1885 - 91). 
English translations have appeared 
of the ' Microcosmus,' the * System,' 
and the ' Dictate. ' 






cal and 

century,^ enabling us to bring some order into the 
tangled maze of speculative writing and to construct a 
road through the labyrinth of philosophical opinions. 
The sequel will show that, to a large extent, I shall avail 
myself of this method. For the moment I wish to dwell 
on this point with the object of giving to my readers a 
preliminary idea of the difference between philosophical 
and scientific thought. The full appreciation of this 
difiference can, of course, only be reached during the 
course of the second portion of this History itself. 

Science for long ages has lived, as much as philosophy 
still lives, under the control, not to say the tyranny, of 
language and of words.^ It is well known that science 
for a long time formed merely a branch of philosophy, 

^ In fact, such a process has been 
suggested by a well-known author- 
ity : "a history of the language 
... in which the introduction 
of every new word should be noted 
... in which such words as have be- 
come obsolete should be followed 
down to their final extinction, in 
which all the most remarkable 
words should be traced through their 
successive phases of meaning, and 
in which, moreover, the causes and 
occasions of these changes should 
be explained, — such a work would 
not only abound in entertainment, 
but would throw more light on the 
development of the human mind 
than all the brain - spun systems 
of metaphysics that ever were 
written " (Archdeacon Hare, 
quoted by Trench, * English Past 
and Present,' p. 2). "When the 
function of language in producing 
and maintaining community of 
knowledge among men is once con- 
sidered, its philosophical import is 
seen to be of the most profound 
and far - reaching character ; and 
Reid with his * common-sense ' is to 

be blamed only for allowing the 
more important use of the word 
* common ' to be overshadowed by 
its other implication of ' ordinary ' 
(as having relation to everyday 
experience and practice). In 
making what reference he did to 
language, he shadowed forth a 
surer method of philosophical 
analysis than Kant, with all his 
more laboured art, was able to 
devise. " See G. Croom Robertson, 
in 'Mind,' O.S., vol. xL p. 270; 
also 'Philosophical Remains,' p. 421. 
'^ It was one of the idols which 
Bacon desired to destroy under the 
title of." Idols of the Market-place " : 
" For it is by discourse that men 
associate ; and words are imposed 
according to the apprehension of 
the vulgar. And therefore the ill 
and unfit choice of words wonder- 
fully obstructs the understanding. 
. . . Words plainly force and over- 
rule the understanding and throw 
all into confusion, and lead men 
away into numberless empty contro- 
versies and idle fancies" (* Novum 
Organum, ' book i. , Aphorism xliii. ) 

and that only latterly has it established its independent 
position under the terms "Natural Philosophy" and 
"Natural Science." This process of emancipation has 
been carried out mainly through those clear and concise 
definitions referred to above. They have enabled it to 
abandon purely verbal discussions for actual description 
of facts. Now it will be interesting to note that the 
manner in which these definitions have been gained, the 
method of this clearing up, are not in general or 
to a large extent available in that domain of thought 
which still retains the name of philosophy proper. In 
order to rise, as science has effectually done, from merely 
verbal discussions to the consideration of realities — i.e., 
to emancipate itself from the tyranny of words— phHo- 
sophy proper will have to look out for a different method 
from that which is peculiar to science. Whenever the 
latter method is applicable we may say that science has 
established itself, and wrenched a new province from the 
common parent-land of philosophy. 

Moreover, the method by which the different sciences 
have succeeded in defining the ideas with which they 
deal must have become abundantly clear in the course of 
our historical exposition. Scientific thought has always 
progressed by looking outside for definite things or pro- 
cesses in and through which the abstract terms it makes 
use of are exemplified in the external world — i.e., in 
Nature. Wherever any doubt, vagueness, or ambiguity 
has shown itself, it has been dispelled by resorting 
to observations of special instances, by multiplying 
these, and thus attaining to generality, by experiments 
through which complicated cases have been analysed 






Seen es 



into simpler elemental processes, by dealing with samples 
or examples where the existing material was huge and 
overwhelming, and by many similar devices. The 
student of science has, in the course of the last hundred 
years, learnt to apply these devices in numberless ways, 
and to combine them with an astounding and ever-growing 
ingenuity and resourcefulness which is the wonder of the 
age. The scientific student has learnt to go from words 
to things, from books to nature, and nature herself has 
revealed to him her phenomena in ever-increasing wealth 
and abundance. If nowadays any of the many prob- 
lems of science have to be attacked, the foremost precept 
will be : circumspicej look around you. The road of scien- 
tific inquiry is the way that leads outside. 

But starting, as we did, with language — i.e.^ with 
ciaiiyin words and terms — we very soon find that language con- 
tains a vast number of expressions for which no outer 
image can be readily found. Such words refer to what 
are generally called abstract ideas or ideas par excellence. 
If we try to define them — i.e., to assign to them a def- 
inite meaning — we have, in many cases, not to look out- 
side but to resort to contemplation, to retire into the 
solitude of thought, to shut out as much as possible the 
disturbing influence of things around us, and to concen- 
trate our attention as much as ever we can upon the 
images which arise within us. We have to look within, 
not outside, if we wish to find and fix the exact mean- 
ing of the words we employ. 

This difference which exists between the words in our 
common speech has been noted by all philosophical 
writers and urged with more or less clearness. To 







mention only one or two instances, I refer first to the 
treatment of the subject in the writings of Locke, with 
whom one of the principal lines of modern philosophical 
thought originated. 

But I prefer, for the sake of general interest, to quote 
what Edmund Burke says at the close of his ' Enquiry 
into the Origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful,' 
which was published in the middle of the eighteenth 
century. The fifth part of this treatise deals with 
Words, and in the fourth section, "On the Effect of 
Words," he says: "If words have all their possible 
extent of power, three effects arise in the mind of the 
hearer. The first is, the sound ; the second, the picture, 
or representation of the thing signified by the sound; 
the third is, the affection of the soul produced by one or 
by both of the foregoing. Compounded abstract words 
of which we have been speaking (honour, justice, liberty, 
and the like) produce the first and the last of these 
effects, but not the second. Simple abstracts are useful 
to signify some one simple idea without much adverting 
to others which may chance to attend it, as blue, green, 
hot, cold, and the like; these are capable of affecting 
all three of the purposes of words; as the aggregate 
words, man, castle, horse, &c., are in a yet higher 


In recent years, when the study of philosophy has 
again brought into the foreground the problem of lan- 
guage. Prof. Stout has fully discussed this passage of 
Burke, and in connection with it reviewed the opinions 
of other eminent thinkers.^ 

1 G. F. stout, 'Analytic Psychology,' 1902, vol. i. p. 80. 

.^ji^ Tia Bi na fc ' i ia ia w 

c e^iSifti.-' ---.^■- t-Tsg"- 






For my present purpose it is sufficient to say that, 

starting with language and words, two roads are open for 

our reflection — i.e., for finding their underlying meaning : 

the one leads outside, the other inside ; the precept of 

the first was, as we have seen, circumspice, look around 

you ; the precept of the other is introspice, look inside 

7. you. Broadly speaking, the former is the precept of 

^s'S?* science, the principle of scientific thought and progress ; 

philosophy, the latter is the precept of philosophy, the principle of 

philosophical thought and insight. 

This distinction between the two ways, which are 
those of scientific thought on the one side and of philo- 
sophical thought on the other, also helps us to realise the 
great difficulty which besets all philosophical reasoning. 
The way outside leads us into the world of the many things 
that exist not only for ourselves but also for our fellow- 
men whom we address. The scientific thinker, in appeal- 
ing to the things and phenomena of nature, can invite 
the student or the reader to follow him into the observ- 
atory, the laboratory, the museum, the dissecting-room, 
or the world of nature herself, there to seek and find the 
same things as he describes, to repeat the observations 
which he has made, or to go through the experiments 
which he has instituted. Even the mathematical formula 
furnishes the same starting-point for him who first wrote 
it down as for him who follows. Thus the scientific 
thinker appeals to something that under certain conditions 
is accessible to others, being the common object of thought 
and investigation. 
8. It will at once be seen that this is not the case if we 

objecTcom- tum our thoughts inside, if we have to look for the mean- 

ing of words and phrases not outside but within our own montoaiif 

*-" ^ internal, 

minds. To each of us his own mind is only accessible peculiar to 

•^ the oDserv- 

to himself. For every one the object of internal reflec- i^s^ubjectr 
tion and observation is different. If the philosophical 
thinker addresses his hearers or his readers in terms of 
language, he invites them to do what he has done — i.e., he 
desires that each of them, for himself alone, should retire 
into the depths of his own consciousness, into his own 
inner world. He expects that they will there find some- 
thing analogous to that which he has seen and found 
within himself. But the objects are not identical, and 
that they are, in a greater or smaller degree, similar, 
rests upon an assumption which practice has taught us to 
make and which experience has shown to be justified and 
useful. Nevertheless the many misunderstandings, the 
endless controversies, the wearisome discussions which fill 
philosophical books, show sufficiently that this assumption 
is only very partially correct. 

If the fact that the object of philosophical inquiry, 
viz., the inner world, is not the same for all of us, explains 
one of the great difficulties of philosophical thought, 
another feature which establishes an important difference 
between scientific and philosophical reasoning will at 
once be seen to give to the former an enormous advan- 
tage over the latter. This difference can be defined by 9. 

Outer world* 

saying that the outer world exists in space, whereas the in space ; 

•' '-> ^ inner world* 

inner world presents only succession in time. We have ^^ ^™®- 
learnt to apply to things in space the methods of 
measurement, of exact definition, and of subsequent 
calculation. The history of scientific thought has shown 
that science has progressed in the same degree as the 








observation of things has taken the place of discussion 
of words, and further, as these things have been located 
in space, geometrically defined and subjected to mathe- 
matical calculation. As the conceptions of space, of 
location, and of definition in space are at the bottom of 
all processes of measurement, it is at once clear that 
philosophical thought is deprived of the benefit of 
that great instrument by which scientific thought has 

But, though it can in general be admitted that the 
difference between the outer world and the inner, as well 
as the arrangement in space of the former, points to the 
radical difference which must exist between the study of 
nature and the study of mind, and that the former is 
placed in a much more advantageous position than the 
latter, — it would be a mistake to rest satisfied with this 
distinction, or to attach to it more importance than 
belongs to a merely preliminary statement or a first 
approximation. The outer and the inner worlds are not 
separated by a rigid line of demarcation ; the one flows 
into the other, and there exists a large borderland which 
belongs to both in common and neither to the one nor 
the other exclusively. This is evident from the nature 
and structure of language itself; for this not only em- 
ploys in close conjunction words the meaning of which 
is to be found in opposite directions, but also contains 
a great number of terms of which it would be difficult 
to say to which of the two great realms they apply, or 
that have a double meaning, being promiscuously and 
alternately used to denote the one or the other. This 

was already expressed in the above-quoted passage of 
Burke, who divided words not into two but into three 
classes. Language thus forms a common ground where 
our images or conceptions of the outer and the inner meet 
and have mutually to be accommodated to each other. 
There is another common meeting-ground between the 
outer and the inner worlds, and that is to be found in 
our bodily sensations. Many of these, though by no 
means all, have as it were two sides, and can be referred 
to either as things outside of us or as perceptions of 
ourselves. Such is notably the case with the sensations 
of colour or other visual and tactile sensations. Our 
bodies are for each of us just as much the meeting- 
ground of the outer and the inner world as are the 
language and the words we make use of. 

I might in fact have introduced my readers to the 
great difference which exists between the outer and the 
inner worlds of thought just as easily by starting with a 
psychological analysis of our bodily sensations, of that 
physical envelope which encloses the inner and shuts out 
the outer world. This is usually done in treatises on 
psychology. The reason why I have preferred to start 
with language is mainly this, that I am writing a history 
of thought, and that the great body of human thought is 
to be found in the written literatures of the different 
nations. The other means which we possess for express- 
ing our thoughts, such as the various processes employed 
in the fine arts or in music, can, as we may have occasion 
to see later on, only be introduced into a history of 
thought to the extent that we are able to find an 

not hard 
and fast. 


or bodily 
can furnish 
a point of 






analogue in words for that which they attempt to express 
by other signs or symbols. 

But whether we start with language or with our 
bodily sensations-which according to a now generally 
accepted view furnish all the material of our t^hte^ 
it is clear that two roads present themselves, by follow- 
ing which we may hope to bring some order into our 
discussions: these are the way outside into -hat- caU 
nature in the largest sense of the word and the way 
inside into what common language calls the mind. And 
accordingly we can distinguish two great c™ts of 
thought which govern all modern science and philosophy . 
the course of scientific thought with which we have 
become acquainted in the first part of this history, and 
the way of philosophical thought which will form the 
subject of the second part. The fact, however, hat 
neither an analysis of our sensations nor language itself 
is able to draw a definite Une of demarcation has given 
rise to hopes on both sides that, starting on either 
course, both regions, the outer and the inner, can be 
ultimately reached and understood. We have seen, 
notably in the eleventh chapter of the first part of this 
work how scientific thought has, within the last fifty 
years', made great advances into the region of the mner, 
mental, phenomena; how special devices have been in- 
troduced by which these phenomena can be subjected to 
the same exact scrutiny which has proved so successful 

. A recent Italian philosopher, | According to tWs view toguagcU 

r^tn: t^'jSncf ^ V.^ .anS^Tok hf H. B^ot (1904). 
pression and General Linguistic." 



in the abstract and the applied sciences of nature, and 
which even make it possible to employ those methods 
of measurement and calculation by which not only have 
natural phenomena and processes been more clearly 
described, but many have been discovered which other- 
wise would have remained for ever unknown. We 
there saw how these attempts, which I comprised under 
the title of the " psycho-physical view of nature," have 12. 
caused the elaboration of two theories which, like all physical 

view of 

fruitful theories, have been domiciled in scientific liter- ^^a^^ire. 
ature by novel terms that have become widely current, 
and are being largely used with a more or less clear 
understanding of their meaning. The first of these is the 
theory of " psycho-physical parallelism," which — to put it 
briefly — maintains that every inner, psychical, pheno- 
menon or process is accompanied by some outer physical 
phenomenon or process in the human body, and that the 
former can, to a great extent, be studied and understood 
through the latter, which is its counterpart ; and this by 
the same methods as those by which other physical phe- 
nomena have been attacked. It is admitted that these 
phenomena are extremely intricate, not to say puzzling 
and mysterious ; but, it is said, not more so than those 
exhibited in every other region of nature. A second 
term which characterises and popularises this view is the 
term " epi-phenomenon." ^ It has been introduced to 
give expression to the conception that there really exist 
only physical or bodily phenomena and processes, that 
what we call the inner states only intermittently and 
transiently accompany the physical processes which 

^ In German, Begleiterscheinung, — a less illogical term. 
VOL. in. B 







correspond to them, and which form the only real ha^s 
by which definite location in time and space and con- 
tinuity of existence are secured. 

In the sequel we shall see that about s.xty years 
before the psycho-physical methods were invented an 
opposite view had been introduced into German philo- 
sophy mainly through the influence of Kant Admitting 
the correctness of the position taken up by Locke and 
his followers, viz., that all the material for our thinking 
is furnished by the senses, he nevertheless pointed out 
following a suggestion forcibly put by I^ibmz. that in 
dlon'to thf material supplied by the senses th^e 
n.ust be the mind or intellect itself, which forms the 
centre and point of reference and effects the synthesi o 
,, all this material. The emphasis with which he ui^ed t^s 
^S^^ latter point suggested to his followers the possibili y th t 
JS'Jjr it might be quite as legitimate and perhaps ™ P™" 
mising to start from the centre than it would be to 
study and analyse the peripheral world of sensations 
themselves. The latter had been undertaken with con- 
siderable success by the contemporary school of philo- 
sophers in this country. To place oneself at once at 
the centre and point of reference of all our thinking, and 
to work from this outward, seemed a promising and 
novel way of proceeding. It wa« supported and greatly 
favoured by the circumstance that, about the same time, 
German literature, poetry, and art had taken an unex- 
pected and unexampled development through which an 
ideal force was launched into the world which had the 
greatest practical influence not only in literature but 
Ilso in education, legislation, and the political life of the 



nation. It does not seem unnatural that a movement 
so sudden and rapid, which resulted in such momentous 
changes and even formed an important factor in the 
great anti-Napoleonic revolution of Europe/ should find 
its counterpart in an idealistic school of philosophy 
which started in a lordly manner from the inner world 
of thought and the supposed data of consciousness, and 
looked down with a certain amount of contempt upon 
the opposite school of philosophy which dealt more 
exclusively with the problems of wealth, industry, and 
the interests of the masses. 

The history of this movement, which may be called u. 
the idealistic movement of thought, and which will methods 


occupy US more in detail in the course of this work, has their limit, 
shown, quite as much as the history of the later or 
psycho-physical movement, that any exclusive method 
soon exhausts its resources. In trying to find the way 
outside into nature and life it very soon arrived at 
an impassable limit, just as I have had occasion to 
show that the psycho-physical methods by themselves 
lead to an impassable limit beyond which lies the inner 
experience or introspective view which alone reveals to 
us the specific nature of our mind. 

Both methods, the one that works from inside out 15. 
and the other that works from outside in, have been of permanent 
great value. Perhaps one of the most important gains has 
been the conviction to which both lines of reasoning have 
led, that beyond the region from which each started separ- 

^ The history of this movement 
nas been written in a masterly 
manner by the late Sir J. R. Seeley 
m his ' Life and Times of Stein,' a 

work which largely, as it seems to 
me, in consequence of its title, has 
not gained that popularity in this 
country which it richly deserves. 










ately there lies another region equally important though 
not equally accessible by one and *e same approach. Us 
lo Lr Jsting to see that both roads have met xn^at 

common region to which I -j-^'^. ^^t' ^^l:/ The 
language forms the central and dommatmg feature ine 
rrS* .... Hves i. *e ph>U,^« ^^ ^ 
thP Q-reat idealistic movement in Germany, anu 
tentCd in hand with the revival o^ German h^ratur. 

lived also in the minds of the ^^^^^^ /^^ X_y 
„,ovement to which we owe the sciences of ph^og^ 

*• o„ri Plasoical of iurisprudence, of biDiicai 
comparative and classical, oi j y 

theolo<Ty of history in its many branches. Many ot 
tlieoiogy, "1 J j^. successors, 

these were indeed pupils of Kant or n 
and notably the last and greatest exponen tlusjne 

t ,x..,,chi Hecel can count among his followers a 
:re :^^a; !f tmes of the leaders in the various 
Cch s ofhistorical research. On the other .e. the 
school which calls itself pre - eminently scientific, and 
whch is represented in Germany and France by the 
;' IphysiL, in England by the evolutionist school 

of'thoifght, has found it not only -« J;;^^ 

« ^f minri in their physical and pnysio 
ifi the phenomena ot mma m ineii F J 
Tran'sftion ^ \''^. \ foundations but also to attack and explore that 
to the social logical tounoations, out a , , , ^ oo if wpre 

^ " region in which the human mind has become, s. it were 
an external and tangible thing, viz.. human society 
with its primitive or more advanced institutions. It ^ 
needless to say that here again language P-ents^s^l 
as the central creation. In and through it-in ^^ 
sT>oken and still more in the written word,-as also 
th ough the creations of the fine and useful arts and o 
Tsic external material and lifeless things have become 

the bearers of ideas ; while, on the other side, ideas, the 
work of the mind, have become, as it were, externalised 
and deposited for all time in tangible objects. What 
was once the creation and the hidden property of only 
one or of the few has, through this process of external- 
isation, become the common possession of the many, in 
whom, through it, a new life has been awakened which 
does not end within the narrow limits of our corporeal 
existence, but is itself capable of continuous growth and 

Considering, then, the extreme difficulty which exists 
if we try, by the methods of introspection, to get hold 
of our inner life, it is no wonder that the study of 
mental phenomena should more and more take the 
direction of a study of their external manifestation in 
the institutions of society in its primitive and more 
advanced forms, of languages living and dead, of art, 
religion, science, and industry ; further, that this study, 
after having for a long time lingered over the more 
developed forms, should latterly have been directed more 
especially to the origins, the supposed primitive or 
elemental forms out of which the more advanced institu- 
tions and more finished productions have historically 
developed. This characteristic tendency of nineteenth i7 

•^ A character- 

century thought was not only favoured by the extreme ^^^ency^of 

difficulty of all purely introspective or subjective attempts, thought. 

but quite as much by a kind of reaction against the 

sceptical attitude which found an extreme expression in 

the writings of David Hume. He had himself pointed 

out the path, when, after arriving at a deadlock in his 

purely logical and psychological writings, he gradually 

. im m t.Mmv >^ ^Js4m » m0tmi 




led the way, through his ethical and political essays, to 

historical treatment and the study of origins m that 
great region of scientific thought comprised under the 
term BioLv: the science of life. After the futility o 
ES"' S; ..«n.p: to gv^P .he e«.c. o, life i«.l. ^ a d^- 
°^^^^^"^- analysis had become apparent, the more extensive desciip 
tion and observation of living things themselves, of their 
forms their habits, and their environment, mfused new 
hope Into the sciences of nature ; and, lattei^y, a 1 hese 
studies have converged in the direction of the study o 
origins,^ whether these be found in the embryological 
beSnnings of individual life (ontogenesis), or m the 
hirtorical beginnings of genera and species (V^^^^^^ 
Instead of trying to grasp the meaning of life through 
philosophical definitions, natural science has taken the 
Lre promising course of studying life in the great world 
Tf livin. things and their properties. Similarly the study 
of mind, after having met with much discouragement 
from the side of philosophical sceptics, as well as through 
the endless controversies peculiar to the introspective 
schools, has latterly gained new hope by turning to the 
external manifestations of mental life in the phenomena 
of society, religion, language, &c. The reality of nienta 
life which had gradually evaporated under the hands ot 

1 See supra, vol. i. p. 47, and the 
passages there quoted from Les he 
Stephen's ' Enghsh Thought m the 
Eighteenth Century. ^ ^ . ^ 

2 I am indebted to Prof. J. 

Arthur Thomson, '^:^,^^^^'''^']Z 
the first part of this History (see 

* Hibbert Journal,' vol. iii. p. 395), 
for the remark that it is not so 
much a study of genesis and origins 
as of genealogies and descent that 
the Darwinian view has introduced 
into biology. 



the psycho-physicist or been reduced to a mere semblance, 
to a discontinuous epi-phenomenon, asserted itself in full 
force when philosophers looked around at the great 
structures of human history and civilisation, at the 
fabric of language, the institutions of society, the monu- 
ments of literature, art, and industry. Compared with 
the amount of external matter and energy which Nature 
even only on this small globe of ours works with, the 
actual material and energy, the substances employed, in 
all the literatures, the monuments of art, the composi- 
tions of music, or even the products of industry, are 
infinitesimal, a vanishing quantity ; yet they are the 
greatest reality that surrounds us, being of more import- 
ance to us than all the rest of the world put together. 
How has this small assemblage of matter and energy, 
which is the bearer and preserver, the repository of all 
mental life and interest, acquired that additional reality ? 
This is the philosophical question which a study of history 
forces upon us. 

" Oh, the little more, and how much it is, 
And the little less, and what worlds away ! '*' 

It is this little more or less that makes all the differ- 
ence. It gives to the small piece of canvas the increasing 
value which all the bales of canvas in the world do not 
equal ; it gives to the small block of marble, hewn out of 
the quarries of Pentelicon or Carrara, an importance as 
a unique object of art ; it gives to the slab of stone, or 
the sheet of paper, valueless in themselves, the position ' 
of priceless monuments, to the score of music a mean- 
ing which could not otherwise be expressed; it dis- 





i 1 

added by 
to natural 
things . 


tinguishes between the pile of bricks and mortar and the 
heap of rubbish into which any earthquake might convert 
it and which would not be worth removing were it not 
for the fragments of the destroyed edifice which it con- 
tains What was it that converted the Kosetta Stone, 
through the discovery of Thomas Young, from a simple 
piece of building material into the corner-stone of the 
great edifice of the science of Hieroglyphics ? Surely 
something has been added to all these small and insig- 
nificant objects to raise them to the position of interest, 
not to say veneration, which they occupy in our estimate. 
We feel that thev have got a reality which they did not 
possess in themselves ; they have, in some mysterious 
manner, become the repository of human thought, of the 
very essence of the human mind ! Is it not important 
to ask the question : Whence came this added reality 

and what is its nature? 

We come thus upon another definition of the object 
and aim of philosophy as distinguished from science 
This definition is suggested by the twofold meamng of 
the words " real " and " reality." It furnishes one, and 
perhaps the most remarkable, instance of the twofold 
aspect which many words of language present to us. It 
is evident that, to find the meaning of the word " real, 
we have to look not only outside but likewise inside our 
own selves. No external examination, by all the methods 
of science, would reveal to us anything but the most 
unimportant side or portion of the reality which belongs 
to any of the objects just referred to. In order to get 
hold of the much more important side of this reahty, we 
have to resort to a variety of mental processes, of inner 



contemplation, for which science gives us little or no help. 
To define and demonstrate, so as to produce general con- 
viction, is to a large extent quite impossible. To gain 
understanding here is a task which each thinking and 
contemplating mind is bound to perform for itself alone. 
An awakening to the consciousness that there are two 
realities in and around us which language and common- 
sense unconsciously recognise, but continually inter- 
mingle, marks probably the first important stage in the 
history of philosophy, and accordingly we find already 
with the great philosophers of Greece, notably with Plato, 20. 
due recognition of this twofold aspect of the real, and a aspect of 

o ^ * ^the Real first 

continued striving to find an appropriate expression for it. ^y^p^J^o^^ 

We owe to Plato the greater part of the terms by 
which this central problem of philosophy is put before 
us in the writings of ancient and modern thinkers. He 
created at least one half of the vocabulary of mental 
philosophy; he first put prominently forward and ex- 
pressed in words the conception that there is a world of 
ideas which has a definite existence not only in but 
above and outside of the world of material things. In 
speaking of that which is real or exists (to ov) he puts 
forward the notion of that which is really (not only 
apparently) real (to ovTwg ov), and likewise the comple- 
mentary notion that, besides the real, there exists some- 
thing which is not real (to /mrj ov), and which, by its 
admixture with the truly real, deprives the latter of a 
portion of its true or pure reality, reducing it to an 
appearance or semblance. He also tries to answer the 
question: What is the nature or essence of the truly 
real ? All these reflections, put forward in the Platonic 





dialogues in endless variety and illustrated from many 
sides embodying many ideas contained in the wn mgs 
of his predecessors or suggested by the conversations 
of Socrates, have formed the text for the discussions 
of more than one half of the great thinkers of ancient 
and modern times. Attempts have indeed been made, 
ever since the time of Descartes and Bacon, to escape 
from the influence of Plato's idealism; the fact, however 
that hardly any philosopher who has attacked the highest, 
problems of philosophy has succeeded in liberatmg himself 
from the use of Plato's terminology, or consequently from 
the influence of his ideas, proves to us how important 
a part the great problem of the twofold aspect of reality 
plays in all our most serious reflections. Of modern 
languages the German has certainly assimilated more than 
any other the wealth of expressions which Greek philo- 
sophers, notably Plato and Aristotle, have bequeathed to 
posterity. Other languages, especially the English, have 
only tardily followed ; but during the latter part of the 
nineteenth century, when the British mind turned again 
to those' deeper' problems which, after the original and 
isolated treatment contained in the writings of Bishop 
Berkeley, had been pushed aside and neglected, the 
necessity was felt to enrich the English language by a 
variety of terms, most of which are directly or indirectly 
imported from ancient philosophy, or at ^ least, through 
their German equivalents, suggested by it.^ It is especi- 

1 ^- * -Dio+rw'a I mirher'a Translations (1804-28), in 

1 The translation of Platos ^^^^^^^^ 

'Dialogues' by some of^^the^f^ore- | f^^^C^^^^^^^^^ 

Translations (1871, &c.) Nor 
is it unimportant to note that 
one prominent representative of 



most thinkers in the three coun- 
tries during the nineteenth century 
has done much to promote idealism. 
Thus we have in Germany Schleier- 

with it. 

ally interesting to see how in the writings of one of the 
latest representatives of the ideal school of philosophy in 
this country, and one who has had a very marked influence, 
we find a continual striving to find an expression for the 
twofold aspect of reality and for the essence of the truly 
real, similar to that which we meet with in the writings 
of Plato.^ 

The patristic and scholastic philosophies are full of ^^ 2h 
a recognition of the twofold aspect of reality ; but ^^d th?*"^ 
they find a solution of the question as to the truly ^j.eS'^'' 
real in the Christian doctrine of a higher life. Modern 
philosophy started in England in the teaching of 
Bacon, and on the Continent in that of Descartes, 
with a reaction against the neglect with which mediaeval 
philosophy had treated the problems of this world. It 
led, though in very different ways, to the culture of those 
branches of knowledge which have to do with the outer 
world — i.e., with Nature in the largest sense of the term. 
This interest, as well as the fact that Plato's writings are 
wanting in due appreciation of the importance of the 
exact and natural sciences, — with the sole exception of 
mathematics, — was probably the reason why, for a long 
time, Plato's works remained little known to philosophi- 
cal students. With a deeper recognition, however, that 
the question as to the truly real was not only of re- 

modern, positive and evolutionary, 
thought, M. Fouillee in France, 
started on his philosophic career 
with a study of Plato. In each of 
the three countries the prominence 
given to Platonic studies through 
these translations was followed by 
a reaction more or less associated 
with the study of Aristotle, in 

Germany by Trendelenburg ('Ele- 
menta Logices Aristot.,' 1836, 
'Logische Untersuchungen,' 1840), 
in France by Barthelemy-Saint 
Hilaire (1844, &c.), in England by 
the recent Aristotelian studies at 
the University of Oxford. 

1 See Mr F. H. Bradley's * Ap- 
pearance and Reality,' Isted., 1893^ 









Kant and 

licdous but likewise of supreme philosophical interest, 
a%evival of the study of Plato went hand in hand; 
Leibniz being probably one of the first of the grea 
philosophers of modern times to appreciate the Platomc 
LaUsm. Towards the end of the eighteenth century 
the old problem which was before the mind of Plato 
received a new expression in the philosophy of Kant 
and this expression has dominated most of the great 
systems of nineteenth century philosophy. Even the 
positive philosophy in France and the philosophy of Evol- 
ution in England which, in their great representatives, 
professed to break with the historical traditions of philo- 
sophy, as Descartes and Bacon had done before them, 
have led, through the reaction which they provoked, to a 
profound appreciation of the form in which this central 
problem of philosophy presented itself to Plato and 
Kant ' Philosophical thought in the nineteenth century 
indeed not only started from, but, as we shall see con- 
tinually reverts to, Kant's statement of the great problem. 

1 This view of Kant's philosophy 
as belonging to the Platonic tradi- 
tion is strongly brought out by 
Fr. Paulsen. "Kant's metaphy- 
sical conceptions through all their 
changes remained essentially the 
same : they consist of an idealism 
under the directing influence of 
Leibniz (and Plato)." Paulsen* 
* Immanuel Kant,' 4th ed., p. 83 ; 
cf. also pp. xi, 97. This view has 
been attacked by some of Paulsen s 

critics. 1 i. • 

One of the leaders of what is 
termed in Germany Neokantianism, 
a revival of the study of Kants 
Works, following upon the publica- 
tion of Kuno Fischer's ' Exposition 
of Kant's System,' in the 3rd and 4th 
volumes of his ' History of Modern 

Philosophy' (I860), F. A. Lange, 
has fully entered upon the influence 
of Platonism upon subsequent 
ancient and modern philosophy, and 
has in his ' History of Materialism 
(Engl, transl. by E. C. Thomas, in 
3 vols., 1877, 1880, 1881) denounced 
it as one of the great errors in 
philosophic thought. At the same 
time he recognises its great Histori- 
cal importance and its abiding 
value from a difi-erent point of 
view, which he places in opposition 
to the methodical treatment that 
belongs to science and philosophy. 
Of this important distinction, which 
is independently upheld by other 
thinkers besides Lange, I shall 
treat in a later chapter. 

It is influenced throughout by the conviction that finds 
its most eloquent expression in the words which Kant 
placed at the end of his work on Ethics : " Two things 
fill my mind with ever new and ever growing wonder 
and reverence, the more often and continuously my 
thoughts are occupied with them: the starry heavens 
above me, and the moral law within me. Neither 
of these ought I to seek for or merely to assume, 
as if they lay outside my horizon, clothed in darkness 
and the unreachable. I see them both before me and 
connect them directly with the consciousness of my 
existence. The first begins with the place which I 
occupy in the outer world of the senses and expands the 
connections in which I stand into the invisibly great, 
with worlds upon worlds and systems upon systems, 
moreover, into limitless ages of their periodic motion, 
its origin and duration. The second begins with my in- 
visible Self, my personality, and represents me as stand- 
ing in a world which has true Infinity, but is accessible 
only to Eeason, and with which I stand not only — as is 
the case with the outer world — in accidental, but in a 
general and necessary relation." ^ 

We shall see in the sequel how the ideas contained or 
suggested in thisjremarkable,passage, in which Kant sums 
up the final result of his teaching, have governed con- 
sciously or unconsciously the various directions which 
philosophical thought has taken during the nineteenth 
century. We shall also see how Kant replied, in no 
uncertain manner, to the question which of the two 
worlds is the truly real one. 

^ See Kant, ' Kritik der praktischen Vernunft,' 1st ed., 1788, conclusion. 




and the 
power of 





No better instance of the control-not to say the 
tyranny-which language exerts over our thoughts can 
I found than the modern use of the word EvoU^on. 
I^ every department of literature, scientific, phdosophical. 
or general, systematic or unsystematic, the word occurs 
agafn and again; it seems to satisfy authors as wdl as 
their readers. By it they seem to ^ave Jound ^he "ght 
position from which to treat or comprehend almost any 
Lbject, to have gained the right attitude of contempla- 
tion ' In most cases, when the word is used on the title- 
pages of books, in introductions, reviews, or leading 
articles in the daily papers, it would be needless to ask 
the question what is really meant by the term; every- 

1 This refers mainly to English 
literature, where the term has been 
appropriated by Herbert Spencer 
to characterise his synthetic philo- 
sophy, and has since been generally 
used to signify development, phy- 
sical or mental, much on the 
lines indicated by Schellmg and 
Hegel in Germany at an ear ler 
period. Latterly the term has 
also been largely used in French 
literature in a similar sense 
though it had been current 
there already in the eighteenth 
century. In Germany the word 
has never become current in 
philosophical literature, and re- 
mains identified with the philosophy 
of Spencer, although isolated in- 
stances of its use are already to be 
found in the writings of Herder. 
On the history and the older mean- 
ing of the word, see Huxley 8 
' Science and Culture ' (1 888). In 
the former half of the eighteenth 

century the term ' Evolution was 
introduced into biological writings 
in order to denote the mode in 
which some of the most eminent 
physiologists of that time conceived 
?hat the generation of living things 
took place, in opposition to the 
hypothesis advocated in the pr^; 
ceding century by Harvey, &c. 

(P- 274). , , . 

"Evolution, or development, is 
at present employed in biology as 
a general name for the history of 
the steps by which any living being 
has acquired the morphological and 
I the physiological characters which 
1 distinguish it " (p. 282). , 

' ' The terms ' Development,^ 
I «Entwickelung,' and 'Evolutio, 
! are now indiscriminately used . . • 
! bv writers who would emphatically 
: deny ... the sense in which 
these words were usually employed 
by Bonnet or by Haller (Ibid.) 

body is supposed to understand it ; to every one it seems 
to suggest a useful meaning. 

In the scientific portion of this history we have seen 
how the word has been introduced, notably through 
cosmology and geology, to denote gradual succession of 
slow developments and changes ; how it was then taken 
up by biology, and how, in these three fields of research, 
it marks a contrast to two other views, the uniformitarian 
and catastrophic views, of which the former emphasised 
the fixity, the latter, the suddenness of change in natural 
things and processes. From this more restricted and 
well-defined use the word has been introduced into other 
regions of science, history, and thought with less well- 
defined meanings. 

To historians and philosophers the word recommends 
itself for yet other reasons, which seem to stand in no 
immediate connection with the movements of scientific 
thought to which I just referred. 

A great change has come over the writing of history 24. 

The social 

in the course of the nineteenth century. History, even point of 

•^ view in 

if it be only political history, no longer consists solely i^«tory 
of a record of wars, battles, invasions, and revolutions, 
nor in the biography of kings, rulers, warriors, and 
statesmen. An account of the manners and customs of 
different peoples in different ages is not relegated to 
isolated chapters, or to the meagre appendix of a political 
history.^ The idea, which was already expressed by 

' As it was by David Hume, 

who nevertheless emphasises the 

importance of these subjects. 

'Where a just notion is not 

formed of these particulars (viz., 

government, manners, finances, 
arms, trade, learning), history can 
be little instructive and often will 
not be intelligible " (' History of 
England,' Appendix to chap, xlix.) 






older historians, that the progress of culture and civilisa- 
tion, that laws, art, science, and industry and the life of 
the people form by far the most interesting side of 
history, has been realised in some of the later historical 
works which the nineteenth century has produced. We 
have now, at least, the beginnings of a history of the 
popular masses,^ of their occupations, habits, and in- 
terests. The result of this has been that historians 
now deal more with the continuous, not so much with 
the discontinuous, forces of historical life ; with the pro- 
perties of the masses, rather than with the characters of 
individuals. One of the principal properties of masses 
is this, that they possess inertia and move slowly. Like 
the changes in Nature, their changes are gradual and 
imperceptible, not sudden and catastrophic. Accordingly 
historians deal now more with those phenomena which 
are analogous to the slow-moving processes of Nature, 
and the term Evolution has come in appropriately to 
define the nature of the things and changes which they 

1 It is needless to refer English 
readers to the constitutional histor- 
ies of Hallam, Stubbs, and others, 
or to J. R. Green's ' History of the 
English People.' In countries like 
France and Germany, where, within 
recent times, constitutional history 
hardly existed before the French 
Revolution, the transition from poli- 
tical history to the social history 
of the people did not take place 
through the writing of constitutional 
histories ; but in the course of 
the nineteenth century important 
works, dealing with popular inter- 
ests, have appeared, such as H. 
Taine's * Origines de la France 
Conteraporaine.' In Germany Gus- 
tav Freitag in his * Bilder aus der 
Deutschen Vergangenheit ' (1859- 

62), and notably W. H. Riehl, 
' Naturgeschichte des Volkes ^ 
(1853-69), 'Die Deutsche Arbeit 
(1861), 'Land und Leute,' and 
many other books, made a beginnmg 
of a history of the German people, 
and at the end of the century we 
have Karl Lamprecht's ' Deutsche 
Geschichte,' in twelve volumes 
(1891, ^c), written mainly from 
an economic point of view. The 
real historians of the people are, 
however, the great novelists, and 
it is interesting to note that the 
modern social and historical novel 
made its first appearance simul- 
taneously with the rise of modern 
historiography, and this in all the 
three countries alike. 

are attempting to record. They deal, not so much with 
persons and events, as with the gradual development of 
constitutions, the growth of nationalities and societies, — 
in fact, with the life and interests of the masses. 

The history of thought seems similarly to lend itself 25. 


very readily to such treatment. It is easy to fix upon to the 
one or several leading ideas or movements of thought, tiiought. 
and to trace their slow growth and gradual diffusion 
and influence. Important historical works, comprising 
sometimes many volumes, have been written or planned 
from this point of view. It is seldom, however, that 
we do not rise from the perusal of such works with the 
feeling that they have only taken notice of one side, and 
that there are other sides which must also be taken 
into account if we wish to arrive at a fair judgment 
or a comprehensive view.^ 

Thus, although it is the object of this history to dwell 

^ The prominent examples of 
this manner of treating the History 
of Thought are Comte's 'Philo- 
aophie Positive,' Thos. Buckle's 
'History of Civilisation,' and 
Hegel's 'Philosophy of History.' 
With these I shall be largely occu- 
pied in future chapters. Of smaller 
Works we have Guizot's Lectures on 
' History of Civilisation in Europe * 
and 'History of Civilisation in 
France' (1828); Lecky's 'History 
of the Rise an3 Kfluence of 
Rationalism in Europe' (1865), 
2 vols. German literature is par- 
ticularly rich in monographs on 
special, ideas or movements of 
thought, such as Lange's ' History 
of Materialism,' already quoted, 
Lasswitz' 'Geschichte der Atom- 
istik,' 2 vols. (1890); Tholuck's 
' Vorgeschichte des Rationalismus ' 
(1853-62); ' Geschichte des Ration- 

^^OL. IIL 

alismus' (1865); A. Ritschl's 'Ge- 
schichte des Pietismus ' (1880-86) ; 
A. Drews' 'History of German 
Speculation since Kant,' containing 
mainly a history of the idea of 
Personality. Of course, by far the 
most important idea or cluster of 
ideas in modern times has its 
special development and history in 
the vast theological literature deal- 
ing with Christianity in its two 
great manifestations, ' Christian 
Church ' and ' Christian Doctrine. ' 
As this rests on a unique historical 
foundation, it will not be specially 
dealt with in the present section of 
this history. It belongs to the 
religious thought of the century. 
Only where it comes into immedi- 
ate contact with philosophical 
doctrines, as it certainly has done 
very frequently, shall I have occa- 
sion to refer to it. 




as well as 
ideas not 
to be 

New point 
of view 

Contrast to 
be dealt 

by preference on the uniting ideaa which underlie the 
Thought of the nineteenth century, I feel that it would 
be a mistake were I to undervalue the many differences 
and contrasts which have existed within the great realm 
of thought during that whole period. 

I think it will be more helpful to my readers if, 
when entering on a new portion of my subject, I im- 
press upon them the necessity of adopting an entirely 
different point of view from that to which they may 
have become accustomed by the perusal of the former 
volumes. So strongly do I feel the necessity of this 
that I am inclined to say, that except they are prepared 
to familiarise themselves with an entirely altered set 
of interests, problems, and methods, I shall fail to gam, 
or to retain, their attention in that which follows. 

Unity or harmony of thought may be the desired 
end it may even be a growing tendency which has 
become more and more evident ; it certainly has not 
been the prominent external feature of nineteenth cen- 
tury Thought. The historian must first take note of 
the differences, the contracts, and controversies before 
he can hope to trace the secret and underlying agree- 
ment. The former present themselves wherever we 
look, the latter is hidden— a subject rather of specu- 
lation and conjecture. 

Similarly in the line of political history, of biography, 
of the histories of literature, or of practical life, a fuller 
and correcter insight is frequently gained by emphasis- 
ing differences, be they national, personal, or local, than 
by dwelling on those features which belong to all forms 
of human life and progress alike. I desire, then, first 




of all, to impress on my readers the great difference, 
and indeed the contrast, which has existed all through 
the century, between that great domain of Thought of 
which I treated in the former volumes, under the name 
of Scientific Thought, and that equally important, though 
perhaps not equally coherent, region which we now 
approach, and which I comprise under the name of 
"Philosophical Thought." 

Earlier philosophical systems of the century aimed 


at comprising under the term philosophy a well-ar- pbicaicon- 
ranged system of all knowledge : modern science inclines ^^^^^^^'^ 
in the opposite direction of reducing philosophy to the 
position of being merely a formal introduction to science 
— or the most abstract outcome of scientific reasoning. 
Nevertheless, a glance at the scientific and philosophical 
literatures of Germany, France, and England forces 
upon us a strong conviction of the essential difference,' 
of the contrast and antagonism in the aims and interests, 
in the style and the methods which are peculiar to 
science on the one side and to philosophy on the other. 
It was once as difficult to find a way from the abstrac- 
tions of the great idealistic systems into the broad 
expanse of natural science, as it is now to ascend from 
this to the leading conceptions which form the basis 
of our moral and social life, the ideals of art and the 
truths of religion. The consequence has been that, a 
century ago, natural science took its own course, un- 
trammelled by the theories of philosophers, and that 
we find in our days little inclination on the part of 
practical legislators, of statesmen, and of politicians, still 
less of artists and religious teachers, to refer for help 










to the doctrines of pure science. The ethics and re- 
ligion of science which the latter half of the century 
has variously elaborated meet with even less recog- 
nition by practical teachers than did the " philosophy 
of Nature " of Schelling and of Oken a hundred years 
aco on the part of the leaders of Science. Science and 
the philosophy of Life, knowledge and wisdom, still 
live mostly far apart, or are found united only in rare 
r and isolated instances. Looking, then, from a broad and 
general point of view at the two great branches of 
methodical thought of the past century, we may say 
that there existed two main problems. For the phil- 
osopher who started with the highest interests before 
his mind, the question arose, how was he to find a way 
into the broad expanse of natural phenomena ? What 
was the principle by which these phenomena could be 
grasped and studied ? And for the student of Nature, 
who started from the observation of nature herself in 
her endless variety, the question presented itself : how 
could he ascend to a conception and understanding of 
the highest principles which govern and regulate the 
mental life of man and mankind ? The first of these 
two problems has in a measure been solved by the 
methods and principles of exa^t science, as I have 
explained them in the former volumes; they are the 
scientific, exact, or mathematical methods. The second 
has occupied the greatest thinkers in the course of the 
century, but a generally accepted answer has not been 

arrived at. 

We have seen that the methods of the exact sciences 
by which the exploration of nature in the largest sense 



of the word has been carried out have, in many in^ 
stances, led to problems for which the exact or math- 
ematical methods do not suffice. The question still 
awaits a universally approved answer : " Where and 
how can the thinking mind grasp the whole of that 
region which we broadly define as the life of the 
mind ? " Many ways and many answers have 
suggested themselves. The history of Philosophical 
Thought is mainly concerned with tracing and explain- 
ing them. 

Having thus arrived at a crude definition of the task 
which the history of philosophical Thought has to fulfil, 
the question arises how the whole subject can be con- 
veniently grouped and divided. The courses of philoso- 
phical Thought have been so numerous and intricate, 
crossing and recrossing each other so frequently, that the 
historian has no little difficulty in choosing a starting- 
point. Histories of philosophy have indeed been written 
in great number.^ They have generally taken up the pi^iiosop^y- 

Histories of 

^ By far the greater part of the 
work has been done by German 
historians, among whom during the 
nineteenth century the most prom- 
inent are — H. Ritter ('Geschichte 
der Philosophie,' 12 vols., 1836-53, 
of which several parts have been 
republished), Chr. Aug. Brandis 
(' Handbuch der Geachichte der 
Griechisch-Romischen Philosophie, ' 
1835-60, and a smaller work in 2 
vols., 1862-64), J. E. Erdmann 
(' Versuch einer Wissenschaftl. 
Darstellung der neuer. Philos.,' 
1834 - 53). After these pioneer 
works, written under the influence 
of Schleiermacher and Hegel, had 
to some extent cleared the ground, 
laid bare the sources and amassed an 
enormous amount of material, we 

come upon a second period of phil- 
osophical historiography in the more 
comprehensive and finished works 
of E. Zeller (' Die Philosophie der 
Griechen,' 3 vols., 1844-52, and sub- 
sequent editions much enlarged), 
Kuno Fischer (' Geschichte der 
neuern Philosophic,' 8 vols., 1854- 
99), and a new work by Erdmann 
(2 vols., 1865, and subsequent edi- 
tions) embracing the whole history 
of Philosophy. The three last- 
mentioned works are all inspired 
by the Hegelian philosophy, from 
the stricter formulae of which the 
authors have gradually emancipated 
themselves, most of all Zeller, who 
was much influenced by Strauss 
and, together with him, by modem 
scientific notions. After these 


Chronological point of view-dealing with the different 
' en.s'as they have rapidly followed each other 
e pecially on the Continent, casting side glances at the 
siller developnients which have xssued frorn hem^ 
The classical model in this line is the Histo y o 
Modern Philosophy/ by Kuno Fischer ^- ^V^^f 
much that may be said against the plan and m thod 
adopted in this work, it remains the greatest perform- 
ance which the last fifty years have witnessed in the 
history of recent speculation, a --*y counterpart to 
Edward Zeller's equally monumental ' History of Greek 

works, which still form funda- 
mental treatises, we come to a 
third period of philosophical his- 
toriography in Germany which is 
characterised by a freer treatment 
of the subject, inclining more in 
the direction which this history is 
following -i.^., towards f history 
of phUosophic thought rather than 
of philosophic systems or mdividual 
thinkers. Prominent among these, 
so far as recent philosophy is con- 
cerned, are Falckenberg (' G^schich- 
te der neuern Philosophie, !»»&, 
and many subsequent editions) and 
W Windelband ('Geschichte der 
Philosophie,' 1893, * Geschichte der 
neuern Philosophie,' 2 vols , 18/8- 
80, both in several editions), i^or 
purposes of reference Ueberweg s 
'Grundriss' (re-edited by Heinze, 
Part iv., 10th ed., 1906) is mvalu- 
able In addition to these standard 
works there exist an enormous 
number of historical treatises on 
special subjects, or written from 
special points of view ; among these 
the historical works of E. von Hart- 
mann are conspicuous. To such 
works I shall refer in the course of 
this History, but I am by no means 
acquainted with all of them. Most 
of the larger works which 1 men- 
tion confine themselves, so far as 

the nineteenth century is concerned, 
mainly to German philosophy, and 
only the very latest have begun 
to take notice also of philosophy 
in France, England, and other 
countries. Ueberweg's ' Grundriss 
has indeed elaborate additional sec- 
tions on modern philosophy m 
other than German countries. As 
they are, however, written by sep- 
arate authors belonging to the 
respective countries, the whole 
work does not afford a survey 
from an international point of view. 
The only comprehensive work writ- 
ten in this spirit is the 'History 
of Modem Philosophy, by Prof. 
Harald Hofi'ding (Engl, transl., 2 
vols., 1900). Like his country- 
man G. Brandea, not bemg identi- 
fied with any of the prmcipal 
movements of modern literature 
or thought, he has been able, more 
than other writers, to do justice 
to the separate work of different 
nationalities, taking up an impartial 
cosmopoUtan attitude ; though Hott- 
ding admits that even in his later 
supplementary historical works on 
" modern problems of philosophy 
and " modem thinkers " his expo- 
sition is still defective, especially 
for French philosophy. 



Of the eight volumes of Kuno Fischer's work, six si. 

° Kuno 

treat of the philosophy of Kant and his successors. Fischer. 
There is no doubt that many students of philosophy 
owe their first introduction to this difficult subject to 
the luminous pages of this foremost historian of modern 
philosophy. The appearance of each of the successive 
parts has marked a revival in the interest which has 
been taken, not only abroad but also in this country, in 
philosophy generally, and in the special systems which 
it dealt with in particular. If I do not take this work 
as a guide through the labyrinth of philosophical theories, 
it is not for want of appreciation of its unique contri- 
bution to the philosophical literature of the second half 
of the nineteenth century, nor of gratitude for the in- 
sight I myself have gained through it, but because I 
am not primarily interested in expounding the different 
philosophical systems, but rather in tracing the leading 
ideas which have survived these systems themselves and 
become the common property of the philosophical mind 
at the present day.^ 

^ Kuno Fischer's History (latest 
ed. in 9 vols.) may appropriately be 
termed a history of modern Ideal- 
ism; which starts with Descartes 
and develops through Spinoza, 
Leibniz, Kant, Fichte, and Schel- 
ling to its consummation in Hegel. 
Other important movements in 
philosophy, both German and for- 
eign, are treated aa side issues or 
antitheses to the idealistic move- 
ment. Of other writers full atten- 
tion is given only to Schopenhauer. 
Hegel's philosophy is looked upon 
^ the dominating philosophy of 
the century, as its underlying 
Thought ; its main characteristics 
being that it is speculative and not 
positive (Comte) ; that it is meta- 
physical and not psychological 

(Beneke) ; that it is monistic and 
not dualistic (Giinther and Hermes) ; 
that it identifies Thought and Being 
in contrast to their essential differ- 
ence (Herbart) ; that it finds the 
truly Real in logical thought or 
reason, not in the unreasoning Will 
(Schopenhauer) or the " Uncon- 
scious" (v. Hartmann) (see vol. 
viii., pt. 2, p. 1176 sqq.) The only 
promising further development of 
the Hegelian scheme is seen by 
Fischer in the philosophy of Lotze, 
who, as I shall have occasion to 
explain in the sequel, is historically 
connected \dth Hegel through his 
master, Ch. H. Weisse, and to 
whom belongs, according to Fischefj 
a position of unusual importance 
among German philosophers ; his 






In the earlier volumes of this history it was, of 
course, not my intention to give anything like an ex- 
haustive record of scientific discoveries: I referred to 
these only in the way of illustration, or to the extent 
that they reacted upon Scientific Thought. So also in 
, the present case, I shall only refer to special philo- 
sophical theories or systematic attempts as instances 
in and by which these permanent ideas have found 
expression' which has survived writers and systems of 
philosophy alike. As we saw that the scientific activity 
of the century resulted in the firm estabUshment of a 
small number of leading conceptions, so I shall now 
endeavour to show how the huge and frequently con- 
flicting philosophical literature has left behind it a small 

main thesis being defined as the 
conviction that the world is not 
only a fact, but has also a mean- 
ing. Without this latter addition 
philosophy remains unphilosophical, 
" standing in the midst of the 
darkness and thicket of facts, what 
Bacon termed the sUva sUvarum, 
the forest of forests." See vol. viii. 
p. 1176, &c. Prominent in Kuno 
Fischer's History are the intimate 
relations which he establishes be- 
tween philosophical idealism and 
the classical and romantic litera- 
ture of Germany, of which he has 
a thorough knowledge and a 
unique conception, being popularly 
quite as well known through his 
writings in literary criticism as 
through his 'History of Philoso- 
phy.* Among his followers and 
pupils a recognition of this inti- 
mate connection of thought with 
literature and life is still more 
conspicuous. More than any other 
German historian has Fischer re- 
fused to recognise that other 
modern countries have elaborated 
philosophies of their own. In fact. 

whenever important foreign names 
are mentioned it is only in con- 
trast to the dominating current 
of Hegelian thought, or, as for 
instance with Darwin, as special 
examples of the Hegelian idea of 
development ; besides, important 
movements, even in German phil- 
osophy, are almost entirely omitted, 
as notably the great movement 
in religious philosophy which has 
its origin in Schleiermacher. In 
consequence of these omissions 
Kuno Fischer's History, though an 
inspiring work, is hardly a safe 
guide through the labyrinth of 
philosophical thought in Western 
Europe during the nineteenth cen- 
tury. It is interesting to note 
that Erdmann likewise closes his 
'History of Modem Philosophy 
with an even more elaborate ap- 
preciation of Lotze's views. In 
this respect both Fischer and Erd- 
mann form a contrast to Zeller, 
who in his 'History of German 
Philosophy' (Munich, 1873) has 
only a slight and quite inadequate 
reference to Lotze. 


body of guiding ideas which form the enduring bequest 
of nineteenth century speculation. 

In dealing with scientific Thought I had frequent 
opportunity of pointing out how, in the course of the 
century, science has become more and more international, 
whereas in the beginning of the century the three prin- 
cipal nations with which we are deaUng took up different 
and independent positions in their scientific work. A 
similar observation applies to philosophical Thought, *°^.^"!j' 
although in this case the change from national to inter- ^°enc?and 
national work and co-operation has come much later and P^^^^^^^P^y- 
is less pronounced. At the end of the century the 
philosophy of the three countries preserves more of the 
specific national characteristics than does their science, 
and whilst in the beginning of our period we meet 
with a lively though somewhat casual scientific inter- 
course and exchange, the philosophy of the Continent, 
notably of Germany, sprang up and developed without 
producing for a long time any important influence on 
France and England. In fact, we may say that the 
powerful mutual influence of French, English, and Ger- 
man philosophy produced in former centuries by the 
teaching of Descartes, Locke, Leibniz, and Hume, had 
given way to specific developments, chiefly in the Scot- 
tish and the German schools. If we wish to characterise 
broadly and without going into minute details these two 
opposite developments which sprang out of the common 
root of David Hume's scepticism, we may say that 
Scottish philosophy cultivated the field of psychological 
research, whereas German philosophy centred in meta>- 
physics : the consequence being that we owe to the 



former almost exclusively the development which psy- 
chology underwent during the first half of the century ; 
to the latter almost all the important constructive 
efforts in modern philosophy. These two quite in- 
dependent movements met on common ground when 
they approached, from different sides, the theones 
of logic and philosophical method. To this common 
task British psychologists were led, mainly under the 
guidance of John Stuart Mill, when they desired to 
extend their methods and theories so as to deal with 
economic and social phenomena : German metaphysicians 
were led to similar investigations through a criticism of 
the dialectic (or metaphysical logic) of Hegel, the leader 
in this movement being the Aristotelian scholar, Adolt 
Trendelenburg. From these two independent modes of 
approach, which met over a discussion of Hume's and 
Kant's criticisms, the modern theory of Knowledge 
(Erkentniss-theorie) arose. On this ground British and 
German philosophy met again after a separation of more 

than half a century. 

One would have thought that the great achievements 
of the exact methods in France at the end of the 
eighteenth century, resulting as we saw in many in- 
stances in a creation of new sciences or a complete 
remodelling of older ones, would have led on to a similar 
revolution in mental and moral science. Such a process 
indeed seemed to make a beginning in the school of 
De Tracy and the ' Ideologues ' ; but for reasons which 
iTave been explained in an earlier section of this work, 
this development was stifled in its inception.^: 

1 See this History, vol. i. p. 149. 




French philosophical Thought, for a considerable period, 
preserved a purely eclectic character, and did so even 
long after an independent and novel system of philo- 
sophy had been elaborated in its midst, which was 
destined to exert a very powerful influence, first in 
England and later in France itself. This system, the 
philosophy of Auguste Comte, did not seek an extension 
of scientific research in the direction of psychology, which comte. 
indeed it discouraged in a very peremptory fashion ; it 
attached itself to that line of Thought which has always 
marked the strongest side of French genius ; the mathe- 
matical rather than the essentially empirical develop- 
ment of knowledge. Those three great characteristics of 
German, English, and French philosophy during the first 
half of the century, the metaphysical, the psychological, 
and the mathematical, are intimately connected with the 
state of higher culture in these three countries during 
that period. 

England had developed, ever since the time of Bacon, 
the experimental or empirical philosophy of nature : it empiricism, 
was only natural that a similar empirical treatment of 
mental life should suggest itself as the necessary com- 
plement of that philosophy. The brilliant achievements 
of French Science, building upon the mathematical 
foundations laid by N'ewton and Lagrange, suggested in 
the mind of Auguste Comte the idea of a positive or 
exact philosophy. 

But in one point the British and the French mind 35. 

. Social point 

were m harmony, and this accounts for the interest of view in 

•: France and 

which England took in Comte's philosophy in the middle England, 
of the century. Both countries had witnessed in the 






course of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries large 
national developments, with this difference : that m 
England, the national development brought with it pre- 
eminently the industrial and economic problems, which 
only come to the fore when a more or less settled state 
. of society has been reached ; whereas the national devel- 
opment of France resulted in the great cataclysm of 
the Kevolution, bringing with it the many doubts, 
theories, and constructive attempts which surround the 
question of the groundwork of state and society. Comte 
was the first to proclaim Sociology as the science of the 
nineteenth century-i.e., the problems connected with 
' the life of man, not as an individual but as a member 
of a social organisation. ^ 

, This view appealed strongly to John Stuart Mill, m 
whose mind the sociological problem, which in his fore- 
runners had been limited more or less to industrial, 
economic, and legal questions, began to acquire that 
larger meaning and greater importance which it has 
finally attained in the writings of Jgerbertjpencer. 
36 No such inducement to attempt the solution of prac- 

4'eirefn tical qucstious referring to State and Society existed m 
''"""'• Germany at the end of the eighteenth century. There 
existed there no great industrial developments and no 
great national expansion ss in England, nor did the 
Kevolution offer to German thinkers much more than 
a subject for theoretical contemplation. But, as I have 
had occasion to point out before, the dispersive nature 
of Germany's political life and the absence of national 
unity had resulted in a greater diffusion of culture and 
in the development of the great educational systems, 



notably in the establishment of the German university 
system which trained teachers and servants of the State, 
and which in the philosophical faculty had organised a • 
comprehensive theoretical treatment of all problems of 
mind, life, and nature alike. It was natural that the 
problem of knowledge as such should be taken up in a 
novel and quite general manner and with direct recog- 
nition of the results of ancient and modern philosophy. 
This explains the interest and appreciation with which 
so abstract a work as Kant's philosophy was received. 
It was purely logical, or rather metaphysical, and it 
stood in immediate connection with Aristotle, Leibniz, 
and Hume. The sociological problem was taken up in 
Germany at a much later period; but we must not 
forget that meanwhile an important step in the practical 
advancement of it had been made in the development of 
the system of popular as distinguished from learned 
education : a contribution to the solution of that problem 
of the nineteenth century which for a long time was 
wanting both in England and in France, and the far- 
reaching consequences of which are only now beginning 
to be reahsed. This movement was greatly influenced 
by the leaders of philosophical thought themselves, by 
Lessing, Herder, Kant, Schiller, Fichte, Schleiermacher, 
and Herbart, who inspired the leaders of education and 
the founders of the many seminaries or training schools 
for teachers in the elementary schools. 
Looking, then, at the different national interests which s7. 

P' ' Psychologi- 

promoted philosophical Thought in the three countries, c^^^^^^^^^- 
we are led to a first division of this great subject which ^^^^f^^^^ 
is given by the terms, psychological, metaphysical, and 





Wp can speak of a psychological, a meta- 
T ; aid a positive movement in philosophical 
S-^at is.':e can distinguish hetween a pre- 
SnettV Psycl^ological. a metaphysial, and a po.Uv 
or exa^t treatment of philosophical problem • To^s.^ 
q^ ac, pnuallv important aspects, the logical ana 
r.:^^C b«. w/„™. note .ha. .h. .h«e ,o„n» 
*r,e,.,°« .b. aubje* .h. .w. la...r ..^he »«« 
A T^nrr^ose of philosophical reasoning. Accordingly, 

of psychology, of metaphysics, of ^^^^f^^^^^^ 
the theory of knowledge. A later portion of this sect on 
'IZL d»l With the ,.».«. W wh.. »«.. he 
social problem, which in the meantime has more and 
Toi forced Itself upon the attention of thinkers o ev^^^^ 
Tchool has been defined and brought nearer to a solution. 
The sol problem is in time one of the latest - ^^ 
I sublet one of the most complex, problems which th 
leteinth century has taken up. In the eg« ^^^ 
the century it was still largely in the hands of enthusiast 
ndlonLs, to whom, it may be -ted in passm^^^^^^^^ 
owe almost all the great ideals in our higher 1^^^ an 
from whom they pass into the hands of the thinW 
the philosopher, by whom they are m t-n hand ^ ov 
to the practical man, to the legislator, the statesman, 
the leader of society, industry, or labour. 

Confining ourselves, then, in the beginning, to the three 
earlier philosophical developments - the metaphysical 
Te psychological, and the positive-it is next important 
t o'bslve That in due course t.ey undenvent c.Um 
changes. These changes are common, to them all alike. 

as they are indeed characteristic of all recent Thought 
which is not purely scientific or mathematical. As this ^ ^J^-^.^^^^ 
points to a general feature of nineteenth century philo- If^^^'J^^.^ 
sophy, and has led to special doctrines of great import- gX°"^^^ 
ance and widespread influence, it will be helpful to take *'^"''''^' 

note of it in advance. 

Philosophical thought has acquired the general char- 
acter I refer to, mainly under the influence of the 
German mind. We owe it to that organisation for 
abstract research which we find typified in the philo- 
sophical faculty at the German universities. This is the 
home and nursery of pure science in the broader sense of 
tihe word, denoted by the term " Wissenschaf t " — i.e., 
science and erudition combined. 

When the leaders and founders of the German 
university system, at the end of the eighteenth century, 
undertook to start afresh higher instruction in all 
branches of knowledge, they found themselves face to 
face with an enormous accumulation of erudition and of 
philosophical doctrine. This had been brought together 
by ancient and modern thinkers, by scattered research, 
by no generally recognised method, and with no common 
aim and purpose. It was the tradition, and constituted 
the inheritance from former ages. More and more it 
became evident that this great accumulation of know- 
ledge, of learning, and of doctrine required to be put in 
order and to be sifted, so that truth could emerge and 
falsehood be discarded. Historical records had to be 
traced to their sources, theories had to be followed up to 
their origin or shown to be valid and consistent ; dogmas 
had to show the authority upon which they rested; in 



The term 
as used by 


fact, the whole edifice of knowledge, learning, and doc- 

trine as haAded down from former generations, had to 

be put in order and newly arranged. 

The precept of Leibniz had to be carried out in its 

integrity, " Didici in mathematicis ingenio, m physicis 

experimentis, in legibus divinis humanisque auctontate, 

in historicis testimoniis nitendum esse. 

Such process of sifting or arranging, of confirming or 

discarding, existing opinions, and generally « estabhsh- 
ing the true canons of research in dealing with histor - 
ally accumulated material, had already been sporadicaUy 
set agoing in various branches, but notably in he 
domain of classical learning, about the time when the 
natural and exact sciences had been put upon an inde- 
pendent and secure foundation by the great natural 
philosophers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. 
We have to go back to the names of Erasmus, of Scahger, 
of Casaubon, and of Bentley if we wish to trace the 
heginnings of that great volume of learning and research 
which has gradually acquired the generic name of Philo- 

logical Criticism. 

Towards the end of the eighteenth century the term 
criticism had been introduced in this country to denote 
discussions relating to subjects of fine art and literature 
We find Kant in Germany introducing the term to 
denote preparatory investigations which he deemed neces- 
sary in order to place philosophy upon a secure founda- 
tion and to refute the scepticism of Hume and the 

1 " I have learnt that in mathe- 
matics we have to rely on genius, 
in physics on experiment, m law, 
human and Divine, on authority, m 

history on testimony." 

2 See especially Henry Home, 
Lord Kames' 'Elements of Criti- 
cism' (1761). 



metaphysics of Leibniz. In the first half of the 
nineteenth century a similar process of sifting and 
analysing was infused into scientific theology in Ger- 
many, whilst critical philology under the hands of F. A. 
Wolf and his successors attained, during the second 
third of the century, that rigid, methodical development 
which for a long time gave it the leading influence in 
the higher secondary and learned schools of Germany. 

All these resultants of the desire to sift, to arrange, 
and to judge historically transmitted material, be it facts, 
records, or theories, testify to the working of the critical 
spirit. This latter, together with the purely scientific 
or exact spirit, marks probably the most important char- 
acteristic of nineteenth century Thought. It is accom- 
panied by its necessary and inevitable ally — historical 
research and learning. 

All methodical thought which cannot adopt, or is not 
yet ready to adopt, the canons of exact or scientific 
thought, such as have been set out in the earlier portion 
of this work, has been all through the nineteenth century, 
and is still, under the undisputed sway of the historical 
and critical spirit; all philosophical theories, be they 
logical, psychological, or purely scientific and enunciated 
for whatsoever end or purpose, are dominated by criticism 
and history. So much is this the^ case that in many andMstory. 
instances research has almost lost itself in history and 
criticism, to the damage of the positive interests which 
originally prompted it. We notice this, for instance, in 
the work of many distinguished representatives of critical 
theology abroad : the religious interest has not infre- 
quently given way to a purely literary or learned interest. 

VOL. in. D 



■ I 


Before entering upon a more detailed account of 
psychological, logical, and positive lines of reasoning, and 
before dealing with the Sociological Thought of the cen- 
tury, I therefore propose to pass under review the growth 
and diffusion of the critical and historical spirit m the 
three countries, in a manner similar to that which I 
adopted when dealing with the growth and diffusion of 
the scientific spirit in the earlier part of this history 
In the present case, as Germany is the centre of the 
^±^ critical phase of Thought, and has carried criticism into 
?p^r^"' every branch of learning, literature, and art in the most 
complete manner, I shall begin with the critical spirit 
in Germany, after which I shall treat of the diffusion of 
criticism in England and France. After this I propose 
to take up in the four following chapters the psycho- 
logical, the logical, the metaphysical, and the positivist 
movements of Thought, up to the point at which they 
came under the decided influence of the critical and 
historical spirit. It will then be shown that this resulted 
in the creation of two distinct lines of speculation, the 
first of which started from the foundation of the logical 
and metaphysical systems of the Continent, the other 
from the psychological and positivist doctrines of France 
and England. Both of them are historical, and have m 
the detail of their res.earch had to resort to special critical 
methods : we may comprise them under the general term 
of theories of development. Continental Thought, under 
the influence of the Hegelian system and the great 
historical studies which were there prevalent, adopted 
the name of history of culture or civilisation in a more 
general sense ; whereas, under the combined influence ot 



natural science and the positivist philosophy, the word 
Evolution has been introduced by Herbert Spencer to 
denote that form of development which is based upon 
mechanical or physical principles. 

All through the present section of this History the 
idea of development in these two distinct forms will be 
shown to have influenced philosophical thought and given 
to philosophical problems an entirely altered complexion. 
It has, moreover, tended latterly to bring together scien- 
tific and philosophical thought, rendering, as it appears, 
the former more philosophical and the latter more 
scientific. The two aspects which the idea of develop- 42. 
ment has assumed centre respectively in the philosophies spencer, 
of Hegel and of Herbert Spencer. 

There exist for our human mind only two intelligible 
forms of spontaneous, that is, inevitable and never-ceasing, 
change — namely, physical motion on the one side and 
the movement of thought on the other. Neither can be 
arrested or annihilated : they form the simplest examples, 
which cannot be further analysed, of the process of 
development, and they underlie respectively the systems 
of Herbert Spencer and of Hegel.^ 

^ Before the modern concep- 
tions of Evolution were distinctly 
formulated, this view was pro- 
minently brought forward in a 
criticism of Hegel's as well as of 
Herbart's system, by Adolf Tren- 
delenburg in his * Logische Unter- 
suchungen,' of which the first 
edition appeared in 1840. It marks 
at the same time a reversion to 
Platonic and Aristotelian ideas, to 
that era of Thought when science 
and philosophy were not yet 
divided. In the Preface to the 

second edition (1862) we find the 
following remarkable passage : — 
"The prejudice of the Germans 
must be abandoned that for the 
philosophy of the future a new 
principle had to be discovered. The 
principle has been found ; it lies in 
that organic conception of the Uni- 
verse which has its foundation in 
Plato and Aristotle, and which, 
continuing from them, will have to 
complete itself in a profounder ex- 
amination of fundamental ideas and 
through an interchange with the 








position of 
science and 



But there still remains a large and important section 
of the philosophical literature of the century in all the 
three countries which is not covered by the foregomg 
developments, but into which they all enter. This arises 
out of the peculiarity of philosophical thought to which 
I referred in the third part of the general introduction 

to this history. 

I there tried to show how philosophy occupies an 
intermediate position between scientific thought which is 
capable of clear definition and enunciation and that 
other and opposite region of thought which I have 
variously termed Individual, Subjective, or Eeligious 
Thought. In fact, we may say that one of the objects 
of philosophy has always been to effect a reconciliation 
between science and religion, or, expressed in different 
words, to show the relations between definite and detailed 
knowledge on the one side and our beliefs and convic- 
tions on the other. The philosopher is bound to have 
an eye as much for the latter as for the former. 

There have indeed existed many philosophical attempts 
to establish what is usually termed the monistic view by 
starting from one undisputed principle, or from one 
coherent and self-consistent body of facts, and to dis- 
countenance any compromise between apparently con- 
tradictory regions of thought. Especially in the course 
of the nineteenth century various efforts were made to 

science of reality." Trendelenburg's 
criticisms, though they influenced 
several prominent living thinkers, 
have generally been too little appre- 
ciated, especially out of Germany. 
When he wrote, the philosophical 
mind still hoped for a new con- 

structive effort, and was more easily 
satisfied by the brilliant construe- 
tions of Schopenhauer and v. Hart- 
mann than by the historicism and 
eclecticism of Trendelenburg or the 
cautious and circumspect analysis 
of Lotze. 

base all philosophy upon a purely Scientific foundation. 
It is not necessary, at present, to examine what has been 
the nature and the result of these efforts. We shall 
come across them in the sequel when dealing with special 
philosophical problems. At present it is sufficient to note 
that these attempts have not been found generally accept- 
able, and have had little practical influence. It must 
be admitted that individual beliefs and convictions still 
play a very large part in the region of thought; that 
they have quite as much the right to be regarded 
as facts as any more definite, scientific, or historical 
knowledge. For although it is true that it will rarely be 
possible for two persons to agree exactly where beliefs 
and convictions are in question, it is just as true on the 
other side that these beliefs and convictions, in their 
collective aggregate, exert upon our practical life an 
even greater influence than exact knowledge and science 

Most persons are unable or unwilling to take a correct 
inventory of their beliefs and convictions ; they never- 
theless, willingly or unwillingly, submit more or less to 
the existing laws of the society in which they live, and 
to manifold restrictions and ordinances of a legal, moral, 
and religious nature. 

They do so consciously or unconsciously, admitting in 
this manner that the convictions and beliefs of which 
these laws and ordinances are the outcome have a 
marked reality and are of paramount importance. 
And if we consider all the more important steps 
which we take, either in our individual or in our 
social and political life, and try to analyse the motives 





Attempts at 
tion of 
and belief. 


which have led to them and to gauge the amount 
of actual and undisputed knowledge by which we are 
auided, it will probably be found that the latter plays 
only a very small part, and that beliefs and convictions 
constitute the much larger portion of the considerations 
which have led up to them. The task not only of 
placing these convictions and beliefs in a clearer hght, 
but also of bringing them into some definite and mtelli- 
gible relation with the results of scientific thought, will 
therefore always present itself; and to many thmkmg 
minds it will be the most important function of philo- 

sophical speculation. 

The endeavours to fulfil this task, to reconcile Know- 
ledcre and Belief, constitute a large department of the 
phibsophical thought of the century. They will claim 
our attention in the later chapters of this section, which 
will respectively deal with the time-honoured problems 
of the Beautiful (Esthetics), the Good (Ethics), and the 
Spirit (Philosophy of Keligion), further with the more 
recent problem of Society. A last chapter will deal 
exclusively with the several attempts towards a unifica- 
tion and systematisation of thought in which the 
nineteenth century has been particularly rich. 

Perhaps we shall have to state that those endeavours 
towards a reconciliation of the scientific and religious 
aspects have not been very successful, and shall thus 
have to confirm a widespread opinion which looks upon 
such attempts with disfavour. But even if this should 
be the case, we shall be much impressed with the dis- 
covery that all through the century, and from apparently 
divergent points of view, the fact has been recognised 



that all human thought as well as all mental and natural 
development reveal the existence of two factors, — that 
there exist, as it were, two poles which form independent 
centres of life and development. 

In the same degree as the desire has become more 
pronounced to unify Thought and Knowledge, the 
apparent dualism, so evident to common - sense, has 
become more and more accentuated. In fact, as I stated 
in the beginning of this Introduction, the desire to dis- 
cover the underlying unity has primarily revealed the 
existing contrast and the necessity of first clearly defining 
and understanding it. 

Accordingly we find running through nearly all the 
philosophical theories and speculations of the different 
schools, the attempt to grasp more completely and define 
more clearly that inherent dualism, frequently, indeed, 
with the tacit or pronounced intention of dissolving it 
in some unifying conception. Nearly every phase of 46. 

. . Dualism in 

philosophical thought has thus coined its special terms philosophic 

^ ^ systems. 

wherewith to define this two-sidedness or polarity which 
exists everywhere in and around us. Kant spoke of 
" phenomena " and " noumena," of " pure theoretical " and 
" pure practical reason " ; Schopenhauer writes of " the 
world as Will and Intelligence"; Schelling strove all 
through the many phases of his philosophical career to 
complete the " negative " by a " positive " philosophy ; 
Herbert Spencer places " the Unknowable " in opposition 
to " the Knowable," and even Comte's philosophy finds 
room for " the Incognoscible." 

Of all these different terms in which the same idea 
finds various expression, that which gives to the active 





Plan of this 

principle in human nature, to the Will, an important, 
not to say the most prominent, position, has probably 
succeeded more than any other in impressing the philo- 
sophical consciousness of the present age. This explams 
why the philosophy of Schopenhauer, neglected for a 
long time, and repellent in many of its features, has 
nevertheless latterly attracted and held the attention 
of thinkers of very different schools, and has led to so 
many minor developments. 

The dualism which pervades all modern thought will 
occupy us quite as much as the attempts towards unifica- 
tion. At the same time, the study of the various 
attempts to give expression to the idea that in the life 
of the mind, be it in the individual, society, or history, 
the active principle occupies the primary position, will 
lead us naturally on to the social question which, as I 
said, will form the subject of one of the last chapters 
of this section. In many ways we shall find that all 
other developments more or less converge upon it. 

It will be seen from this rough sketch of the manner 
in which I propose to subdivide the wide region of 
philosophical thought, that I do not intend to follow in 
any strictness either a biographical, or a systematic, or 
a chronological arrangement.^ In fact, I intend as little 


1 The plan I have adopted may 
beat be understood by saying that 
the History of Philosophical Thought 
is considered to be identical with a 
History of Philosophical Problems. 
Most of these problems are as old 
as philosophy itself, and go back 
into antiquity, although some of 
them, such as the problem of Know- 
ledge, the problem of the Beautiful, 

the problem of Religion, and the 
problem of Society, have only in 
recent times been independently 
treated and received special names. 
The attempt to deal with History 
of Philosophy according to this 
plan is not new, but has been more 
or less definitely adopted by various 
prominent thinkers of this age. I 
have only become more intimately 

to write a history of philosophy, or the philosophers of 
the century, as in the earlier part of the work I pro- 
posed to write a history of science. Histories of philo- 
sophy, as a whole, jor of the various schools of philosophy, 
have been written in great number ; in the right place 
I shall fully refer to them. It will then become abun- 
dantly evident how little my own work could have been 
written without the assistance which at every step I 
have received from them. But though it may appear as 
if the proposed manner of dealing with the subject could 
hardly afford that systematic completeness which a more 
chronological method might secure, it will in the sequel 

acquainted with their writings after 
having sketched out for myself the 
plan of this section ; but I gratefully 
acknowledge the assistance I have 
received from them in working out 
the scheme. Foremost among 
them are : Prof. Windelband's 
brilliant * History of Philosophy,' 
of which I have before me the 
4th German edition (1907); an 
English translation by J. F. Tufts 
appeared in 1893. In a prospec- 
tus to the Ist edition (1889) Prof. 
Windelband defines his subject to 
be " a history of the problems and 
of the notions which have been 
formed for their solution. " In re- 
ferring to the 6th and 7th sections of 
his History my readers will be able 
to see how his arrangement and de- 
finition of the problems differs from 
those I have adopted. More dis- 
tinctly and concisely, the ' History 
of Philosophy ' as a History of Prob- 
lems has been written by Harald 
Hoffding (Isted. 1894, Engl, transl. 
1900). In the Introduction he 
says: "The investigation of the 
History of Modern Philosophy 
which I have here undertaken has 
confirmed me personally in the view 
• • . that philosophical investiga- 





tion centres in four main problems. 
He then characterises these prob- 
lems as — 

1. "The Problem of Knowledge 
(the logical problem)." 
"The Problem of Existence 
(the cosmological prob- 
" The Problem of the Estima- 
tion of Worth (the ethico- 
religious question)." 
" The Problem of Conscious- 
ness (the psychological 
We have further from the same 
eminent author, with a slightly 
difl[erent arrangement of the four 
problems, a series of Lectures de- 
livered in the University of Upsala 
(1902) and published under the 
title ' Philosophische Probleme * 
(1903), and a Review of recent 
thinkers in a series of Lectures 
delivered in the same year in Copen- 
hagen and published under the title 
* Moderne Philosophen ' (1905) ; a 
French work on somewhat related 
lines with the title 'A History of 
the Problems of Philosophy' has 
been written by Paul Janet and 
Gabriel Seailles and translated by 
Ada Monahan (Macmillan, 1902). 



become evident that in relation to those several distinct 
aspects which I have defined, all the important doctrines 
of philosophy and many underlying and hidden currents of 
thought will come under review. Frequently, also, Imes 
of reasoning otherwise far apart and apparently diverg- 
ent will be shown to reveal the same or similar ten- 
dencies. Thus the logical and metaphysical development 
of thought will not only deal with the philosophies of 
Kant and his immediate successors, but also with that 
independent development which centres in John Stuart 
Mill. Psychology will not only embrace the Scottish 
school of philosophy, but also that of Herbart, Fechner, 
and Wundt in Germany, as well as the more recent 
contributions of the French school ; positivism will for 
us mean not only the philosophy of Comte, but also 
many cognate developments in England, though they 
refuse alfegiance to Comte, as also the latest theory of 
scientific knowledge which we connect with the name 
of Professor Ernst Mach. The great idea of develop- 
ment will, as has been stated above, have two sides, of 
which, far distant as they otherwise appear, Hegel and 
Herbert Spencer are nevertheless together the main 
representatives. Almost all the leading thinkers of this 
century have, to a greater or less extent, attacked the 
problem of monism or dualism, which historically can be 
traced back to Leibniz, whose ideas in one form or 
another meet us again in the speculations of very oppo- 
site schools of recent philosophy. We cannot understand 
the position which philosophy has taken up towards the 
religious question without recalling the influence of 
Jacobi and Schleiermacher abroad, or of Hannlton and 



Mansel in this country. All the different lines of philo- 
sophical thought converge, however, as I have already 
said, towards the practical or social question which has 
increasingly asserted itself in many forms as the great 
philosophical problem of the age. 

This treatment will at the same time force upon us a 
recognition how little has yet been done by scientific or 
philosophical thinkers towards the solution of the many 
burning questions which it involves, and how much, on 
the other hand, we are still beholden to that vast army 
of writers, thinkers, and practical workers who are 
inspired by convictions and beliefs which have not yet 
found any full and adequate scientific or philosophical 


In this way the study of philosophical Thought will 
lead us on to that large volume of unsystematic and 
unmethodical Thought which I have variously defined 
as subjective, individual, or religious, and which should 
form the subject of the third and concluding section of 
this History. 


Before entering upon a detailed account of the develop- 4s. 

• . Character 

ment oi the different philosophical ideas in the course of and aims 

^ ^ ofphilo- 

the nineteenth century, it may be useful to my readers J^ou^ w 
if I try to give a general and comprehensive view of the 
character and aims of philosophical Thought during that 
period. In attempting this I do not find myself so 
favourably situated as when I started on our survey 






No con- 
sensus as 
to philo- 


of Scientific Thought There we were from the be- 
ginning able to give a simple and intelligible account 
of the'' aim and purpose of all scientific reasoning; this 
consisted in the application of one and the same method 
to all objects and events of Nature as they exist or have 
existed in the past. This method was the simple method 
which begins with observation and proceeds through de- 
scription and clear definition, to measurements, and ulti- 
mately to calculation : only to the extent that the latter 
and highest process— viz., that of calculation— has be- 
come applicable, has it been found possible to deal not 
only with present and past phenomena and occurrences, 
but also to some extent to foretell the future, or to 
penetrate with our knowledge into those recesses of 
nature which are, through distance in time and space, 
through magnitude or minuteness, unreachable by actual 


It is not possible to comprise all successful philoso- 
phical thought within an equally simple formula. This 
defect may be traced to two definite causes. The first of 
these is the fact that no general consensus exists regard- 
ing the method of philosophy, such as exists with regard 
to the methods of science. The methods of the latter, 
though their logical nature has been variously defined, 
are nevertheless so simple in their application that little 
time need be spent by the student of science in learning 
them. The best way of acquiring a knowledge of them 
is practice itself. This gives such proficiency that even 
the greatest minds that have applied these methods 
with unfailing success have not generally spent much 
time in giving an account of the processes of thought 

which they have used. If they have done so it has 
usually been after they had successfully used them, and 
then even their account has not always been marked 
either by particular clearness or consistency. In fact, 
the practice of the scientific method, now universally ad- 
mitted, resembles very much the use of language which 
is not primarily acquired by the study of grammar and 
syntax, but by the practice of speaking and reading. 
Some of the greatest writers, especially in this country, 
would probably be quite unable to give an account of the 
correctness and beauty of their style, which is rather an 
unconscious expression of their individuality. 

In the case of jJdilosophy, we seem still to be in the 
position of the learners of a foreign tongue ; we have to 
go through all the intricate rules of etymology and syntax. 
The stylistic handling of these subjects has not become a 
second nature to us like the use of a language in which 
we have got beyond the tuitional stage. Accordingly 
we find all through the century an endless discussion and 
ever-repeated attempts referring to the fixing of the right 
method and procedure ; some maintaining that the method 
of philosophy is purely logical or metaphysical with as 
much emphasis as others denounce the logical method as 
empty, ridicule metaphysics as pernicious, and preach the 
pure application of scientific methods as the only pro- 
mising and fruitful way. By doing so, we may point out, 
they again expose themselves to the just retort of their 
opponents, that their chosen method is only applicable 
to a very small number of philosophical questions, and 
these the least important and interesting. 

But this uncertainty as to the method is probably not 







is inter- 



the most important feature which divides philosophical 
from scientific thought. There exists a much more 
radical difference, and one which affords a deeper insight 
into the real nature and aim of philosophy. Probably 
» .n.r. the simplest way of letting my readers realise this great 
ZTnhe^is. difference is by saying that philosophy is interested, 

interested. . , 

science is disinterested. 

The ideal man of science should care only for the 
correctness of his observations, the consistency of his 
inferences, and the formal truthfulness of his calculations 
and deductions. No higher interest in mamtaimng a 
preconceived notion, in serving a practical end, or m 
supporting a pet theory, should be Allowed to interfere 
with the even and passionless tenor of the scientific 
judgment. That this does not exist to perfection is the 
consequence, not of the faulty method of science, but of 
the frailty of all human nature. The scientific mmd 
should acquire, or try to acquire, an attitude as dispas- 
sionate and as evenly balanced as that of a judge to 
whose care the most momentous issues concermng life, 
happiness, or misery are intrusted. We know from 
history how many centuries elapsed before the purity 
of scientific method was not only preached and accepted, 
but also manifested through practice. We have heard 
much of the baneful effect of the influence of theological 
docrmas and metaphysical theories. 

The nineteenth century is justly proud of having finally 
established and successfully practised the pure scientific 
method. The greatest representatives of science in all 
the three countries we are specially interested in have 
bequeathed to us models of research, conducted without 

fear or favour, with the sole object of arriving at that 
natural knowledge which was proclaimed by Francis 
Bacon, for which the great Societies and Academies of 
Europe were founded, and which probably attained its 
most brilliant expression in the work of the German Uni- 
versities during the first two-thirds of the century. It 
cannot, however, be held that this serene temper of the 
scientific mind has been left undisturbed within the last 
forty years. Hardly escaped from the trammels of 
theology or the control of metaphysics, a new danger 
seems to threaten pure science. This danger comes from 
the side of the practical usefulness of scientific dis- 
coveries, and from the many problems which the Arts 
and Industries place before the scientific mind in an 
ever - increasing degree. There seems to be as much 
danger nowadays of science becoming the prey of 
commercial, industrial, and financial interests, as there 
was formerly that it should lack independence through 
being regulated by theology and metaphysics. 

Philosophy, as distinguished from Science, does not 
profess to start on its career without a distinct interest 
in the results which it will attain to. The ultimate 
answers to the highest questions of life and society, of 
duty and happiness, are not indifferent to the philosophical 
thinker, and if we occasionally meet with some secluded 
sage who professes to have attained to that unbiassed 
attitude which characterises pure thought, we shall have 
to admit that his speculation suffered from the want of 
contact with things real ; nor is it an infrequent occur- 
rence to find that his followers have speedily undertaken 
to show the practical bearing of his refined and abstract 


r ti'% T-iyi>i 









sophers as 
and re- 

theories. It seems as if even the most abstract and 
serene thought could not live long without coming into 
contact— for mutual good or evil— with the affairs of 

practical life. 

These affairs and interests of practical life form the 
highest subject of philosophical thought; with their 
furtherance, be it to strengthen, to reform, or to 
develop them, philosophical thought is mainly occupied. 
The whole fabric of Society, all the work of Culture, all 
the achievements of civilisation, are bound up with certain 
existing fundamental convictions which cannot be attacked 
or lost without the most serious consequences. In the 
face of this circumstance it would be futile.^ maintain 
that any earnest thinker could approach these momentous 
problems without a feeling of the great responsibiUty 
which must attach to his utterances. It is not too 
much to say that the whole weight of the moral world 
presses upon the minds of those who deal with these 
fundamental problems. 

The great philosophers of the past century have 
shared this feeling of heavy responsibility with the 
great thinkers of former ages, and the fact that' that 
century has probably produced a greater number of 
leading thinkers fully conscious of the educational and 
reforming task which lay before them, is a sign that 
more has been expected in these recent times from 
philosophical speculation than in any former age during 
the whole course of civilised history. The only age 
which could be compared with the nineteenth century 
was that which during the fourth and third centuries 
B.C. witnessed the disintegration of the ideals of Grecian 

Culture. Considering these enormous responsibilities, 
these momentous issues which have lain heavily on 
the philosophic mind in recent times, it is not surpris- 
ing to find that many philosophic thinkers have taken 
refuge in studies which are subsidiary or purely pre- 
liminary. Frightened, as it were, by the overwhelming 
importance of the final problems, they have contented 
themselves with taking up a position similar to that which 
is habitual and customary among men of pure science. 

There it has long been recognised that progress can 
only be attained by specialisation. The scientific prob- 
lem, as a whole, does not exist. It can only be solved 
in parts. The science of any age consists in the sum- 
mation of numberless contributions. But the problem 52. 
of philosophy, which is the problem of Life, is one and science are 

many, prob- 

undivided. Those who only take up special aspects lemofpwio- 

•^ r JT i. Sophy is 

must do so with the conviction that their work is incom- ^'^®' 
plete, not only in the sense that all human work is in- 
complete, but in that sense which is the only important 
one from a philosophical point of view, viz., in its 
bearing upon the whole and undivided issue. The 
only escape from that depressing conviction of in- 
adequacy which the resignation of the philosophical 
specialist necessarily produces, lies in the belief that 
the solution of the problem of Life is worked out by 
different means, and in a different sphere, from those 
peculiar to philosophical thought. I shall point out 
in the sequel how certain scientific and philosophical 
notions which have become current in the latter half 
of the nineteenth century — notably the theories of 
Evolution and the tendency to consider everything 




tion in 
recent philo 






from the historical point of view — have the effect of 
seemingly exonerating the thinking mind of the indi- 
'* vidual or of the age from that heavy responsibility 
which the leading thinkers of former times felt to rest 
on their shoulders. 

Thus it has come about that the greater part of the 
philosophical writings of the last quarter of the century 
exhibit an entirely different character from those be- 
longing to the earlier part of our period.^ In the 
earher period we meet with a great array of compre- 
hensive philosophical systems which approach con- 
fidently and hopefully the great world-problem; and 
although these systems belong mostly to Germany, we 
find, somewhat later, France and England taking prom- 
inent part in the attempt to unite all knowledge into 
all-embracing systems— the systems of Positivism and 
Evolution— and to arrive at formuL^ which should, as 
it were, lead to a solution of all the great practical 
problems of life and society. It is perhaps safe to say 
that all these systems have had their day, that the 

1 When in 1876 the late Prof. 
Croom Robertson, with the gen- 
erous support of A. Bain, started 
the quarterly review 'Mind,' he 
induced prominent thinkers of the 
different countries to write sum- 
mary accounts of the state of phil- 
osophy with them. These are to 
be found in the two first volumes, 
and are still well worth reading, 
notably those by Mark Pattison 
(Oxford), H. Sidgwick (Cambridge), 
Veitch (Scotland), G. C. Robertson 
(London), Th. Ribot (France), and 
W. Wundt (Germany). Before 
that time Ravaisson had written 
a highly interesting report on 

French philosophy (1867), and M. 
Boutroux has taken up the subject 
for the last third of the century m 
the ' Revue de Metaphysique et de 
Morale' (1908). In the same 
volume will be found articles on 
the philosophical movement m 
other countries. For German con- 
temporary thought the publication 
of a memorial to Kuno Fischer, 
entitled ' Die Philosophic im 
Beginn des 20ten Jahrhunderts 
(1904), is to be recommended, also 
the earlier publication of Lexis, 
♦ Die deutschen Universitateu 
(vol. i., Article by J. Baumann, 
p. 427, 1893). 



formulae of Comte and Spencer, no less than those of 
Schelling, Hegel, and Schopenhauer, have been tried and 
found wanting. Not indeed without leaving lasting 
marks of their originality and power in special direc- 
tions, affording many fresh glimpses which had escaped 
the glance of earlier thinkers. To show to what extent 
they have done this will form the main task of the 
following pages. During the last quarter of the cen- 
tury, systems of philosophy have been rare, if one can 
say that they have been produced at all. The largely 
increased number of students and writers on philosophy 
are content to devote themselves to the examination of 
special questions, to write preliminary and preparatory 
treatises,^ to content themselves at best with a kind of 
eclecticism, following the course begun by Victor Cousin 
in France, and adopting the maxim of Lotze, " that after 
such a lengthy development of philosophy, during which 
every point of view has been set up, abandoned, and 
tried again, there no longer exists any merit in 
originality but only in accuracy."^ Others have put 
forward their attempts towards a Unification of Know- 
ledge as subjective endeavours, in the same way as 

^ The first among the leading 
philosophers of the earlier part of 
the century v^ho adopted this posi- 
tion was Herbart, whose *Lehr- 
buch zur Einleitung in die Phil- 
osophie' was published in 1813, 
and went through several editions. 
It is also characteristic of Herbart 
that he never attempted a system- 
atic exposition of his philosophical 
ideas, and left some of the highest 
problems, notably that of Religion, 
undiscussed. Since his time the 
writing of Introductions to Phil- 
osophy has been, in Germany, 

quite the order of the day. 
Among these, those of Wundt, 
Paulsen, and Kiilpe, have a large 
circulation. Prof. Wundt has 
crowned the large array of his 
separate philosophical Treatises by 
publishing in 1889 his 'System of 
Philosophy.' He is almost the 
only thinker of the last generation 
with whom we shall have to deal 
at length in the last chapter of this 
section, which will bear the title 
"Of Systems of Philosophy." 

^ See Lotze, ' Streitschriften ' 
(1857), p. 5. 







Lotze himself had done, or as fanciful and half 
poetic creations. Here Fechner is the most original 
example. The lack of originality, combined with an 
increased accuracy, shows itself in the great predilection 
for historical studies, in the revival of older theories 
and systems, in the love of the past. In a similar 
manner this retrospective interest has shown itself 
wherever Art and Literature have left behind them an 
age of original production and the sources of inspiration 
seem for the time exhausted. Such phases in the his- 
tory of thought or of artistic creation are characterised 
by minuteness of research, by formal excellence, by 
critical acumen, by elaboration of detail. They mark 
the twilight of the waning day which again, after 
the longer or shorter absence of the full light, may 
lead to "the dawn of a new day. It is not the object 
of the historian to indulge in prophecies or fanciful 
anticipations ; yet it is his duty to note whether his 
age shows any sign of revival and of the return of the 

creative faculty. 

To this latter question I shall revert later on ; in the 
meantime it is useful to note that the last generation, 
devoid as it has been of any distinct creative effort in 
philosophical thought, has been characterised by two 
generalised movements of thought, and this in all the 
three countries alike. The first of these tendencies has 
already been noted at the beginning of this Introduc- 
tion; we may call it the reversion to common -sense. 
IZ^ln. On this I need not at present dwell at any greater 
length, as the special forms which this general tendency 
has assumed in the different Uteratures and schools will 

occupy us in the sequel. The second tendency is 
perhaps more prominent, and in the eyes of many 
thinking persons more promising. Allured by the enor- 
mous progress and the stupendous triumphs of the 
Natural Sciences, thinkers of the last generation have 
attempted to remodel the whole of philosophy according 
to the methods of science. The word science in France 55. 
and England has acquired a larger meaning than it used Phiio- 
to have in the earlier part of the century. We now 
hear much of the scientific treatment of philosophical 
problems. Definite well marked-ofif provinces have been 
separated from the whole realm of philosophy and placed, 
as it were, under special management ; thus in psycho- 
logy, logic, and ethics, more or less successful attempts 
have been made to establish independent and self-con- 
sistent doctrines upon the basis of a small number of 
self-evident principles which, just as in the various 
Natural Sciences, enable a large amount of empirical 
material to be described, arranged, and methodically ex- 
pounded. Even in Germany, where philosophy has always 
ranked as a Science in that larger sense of methodical 
Thought which is conveyed by the term " Wissenschaf t," 
the last twenty-five years have witnessed the growth of 
an " exact " or " scientific " philosophy,^ an attempt, the 

^ In 1861 the first number of the 
' Zeitschrif t fiir exacte Philosophic ' 
(edited by Allihn, Ziller, and Fliigel, 
pupils of Herbart) appeared, and 
was continued till 1875, and with 
certain changes up to 1896. Its 
programme was to explain clearly 
the proper tasks of philosophy 
and of the separate philosophical 
sciences, &c. Latterly the memory 
of Herbart has been mainly pre- 

served, through his influence in the 
sphere of education, in the 'Zeit- 
schrift fiir Philosophic und Pada- 
gogik' (since 1894). In 1877 
Avenarius started the ' Vierteljahrs- 
schrift fiir Wissenschaftliche Philo- 
sophic ' with the professed object 
of founding Philosophy as a science 
upon experience alone without 
specifically or narrowly defining 
this term. 



significance of which did not remain unnoticed by the 
representatives of the older schools of philosophical 
thought. This so-called scientific philosophy does not 
necessarily exclude a regard for the highest questions 
of systematic philosophy, an interest in the great reali- 
ties, the quest for which has always been the principal 
prerogative of philosophy; but this interest is being 
kept In suspense as premature, forming frequently the 
inevitable background and sustaining impulse, but not 
the object of philosophic thought in our day. On the 
other hand, some representatives of this scientific philo- 
sophy have openly disavowed all intention of dealing 
with the great World-and-Life problem ; separate schools 
have reproached each other with a taint of metaphysics, 
maintaining that such a study does not legitimately exist 
at all, being merely a waste and corruption of useful 
thought. Modern language, notably in France and 
England, has coined such terms as " the Unknowable," 
" the Incognoscible," and " Agnosticism," in order to give 
expression to this extreme view. Others have been more 
cautious, taking refuge in some current phrases such as 
" the Unconscious," " the Subconscious," or " the Sub- 
liminal self." To all these thinkers, whether they belong 
to the bolder or to the more cautious school, general 
philosophy, apart from the several philosophical sciences, 
still has a special and well-defined meaning. They 
recognise that you . must step outside of the separate 
sciences and assume a more general position if you wish 
to satisfy the intellectual craving of the human mind. 
They demand an analysis and a critical estimate of the 



ultimate principles and fundamental notions which the 
separate natural and philosophical sciences take for 
granted. With this we find frequently connected the 
desire to unite these different and detached principles 
into a consistent and united scheme. As this can only 
be done by a process of reconstruction, by remodelling 
those principles as they primarily present themselves, 
these thinkers follow to some extent in the footsteps 
of Herbart and of Lotze. By such a process of recon- 
struction they may then arrive at some kind of system, 
which will nevertheless differ very materially from those 
earlier systems which have for centuries led human 
thought. These mostly sprang from a deep-seated con- 
viction that some one Supreme Idea had been found, 
which afforded, as it were, an insight into the very 
essence and nature of things, a glimpse of the under- 
lying reality of the All. The most noteworthy example 
of that other and more modest form of philosophy is 
probably to be found in Professor Wundt's ' System of 
Philosophy ' and in the elaborate expositions contained in 
his other philosophical works. Other recent thinkers 
have altogether abstained from systematic ventures, con- 
tenting themselves with a general theory of knowledge. 
In their endeavours they have been mostly influenced 
by Kant, who, as many declare, abstained for himself 
from metaphysics. In fact, they try to do better and 
more thoroughly what Kant had attempted to do in his 
celebrated three " Critiques." 

Eduard Zeller, the renowned historian of Greek philo- 
^^P^y> gave expression to this attitude of thought in 

of Herbart 
and Lotze. 

E. Zeller. 





his Heidelberg Address of the year 1862, "On the 
meaning and importance of BrkenrUniss-Theorie:" The 
introduction of this term forms a kind of landmark in 
the history of German philosophy, which has since largely 
moved in the indicated direction. The term has been 
translated into English by the word " Epistemology " ; a 
general theory of knowledge, of its principles and limits. 
John Stuart Mill had worked in a similar direction long 
before the modern term had been introduced. 

Neither the conception of such a science, nor an 
adequate designation of it, has ever found much favour 
among French philosophers." 

■ About the same time that this more modest pro- 
gramme of philosophical inquiry was placed before the 
thinking public by Zeller, another public address de- 
livered in the same place by Prof. Wundt announced 
to the world in more confident tones the advent of a 
new philosophy. It meant the development of that 
line of thought and research of which, only two years 
before, Fechner had given a brilliant example in his 
' Elements of Psycho-physics.' Of this I treated in the 

1 This Address is reprinted in the 
1st vol. of Zeller's * Gesammelte 

2 The only French thinker who 
has persistently laboured in a 
similar direction is Charles Renou- 
vier (1818-1903). His critical writ- 
ings, notably his ' Essais de Critique 
Gen^rale' in four parts (1854-64, 
second enlarged edition 1875-96), 
have had a wide influence on French 
thought. He can, however, though 
starting from Kant, hardly be 
called a Kantian, as he opposes 
most of the original conceptions 
through which Kant created a 

revolution in philosophical thought. 
He repudiates the " Thing-in-itself," 
the *' noumenon," and the '* trans- 
cendental" nature of human free- 
dom. Though an empiricist his 
philosophical tendency is idealistic. 
In his later writings he inclines 
in the direction of Leibniz. He 
has introduced the word " Criti- 
cisme" into the French language 
and terms his philosophy " Neo- 
criticisme," to distinguish it from 
Kant's. If we define Kant's philo- 
sophy as " Nouraenalism " or 
" Transcendentalism" we may define 
Renouvier's as " Phenomenalism." 





eleventh chapter of the first section of this work. In- 
vestigations similar to those carried out or suggested by 
Fechner and Wundt were stimulated by the appearance 
of Helmholtz's two celebrated treatises on ' Physio- 
logical Acoustics ' and ' Physiological Optics/ and by 
the original philosophical interest associated with them 
in the mind of their author, leading him to a serious 
study of Kant's works. However different the pro- 
gramme of Zeller might at the time have appeared 
to be from that of Wundt, both had this in common, 
that they practically abandoned the speculative line of 
thought which in Germany had reigned supreme during 
the first half of the century. Zeller himself was brought 
up in the Hegelian School ; Wundt, on the other side, 
connected for some time with Helmholtz in his academic 
teaching, had been brought up in the school of Exact 
Science. The hopelessness of the later developments of 
the Hegelian School, which had split into two exactly 
opposite factions, seemed to produce, on one point, the 
same results in the mind of Zeller as did in the mind 
of Wundt the hopefulness with which, in the School 
of Johannes Mliller, Helmholtz and others approached 
the borderland of physical and mental phenomena. The 
common conviction arose that speculative philosophy, the 
orthodox form of metaphysics, was played out. Both 
Zeller, who was a leader in historical and critical studies, 
and Wundt, who was equally so in physiological work, 
emphasised those lines of study in which each of them 
had attained his early successes, — the one pointing to 
criticism and history, the other to the exact methods of 
research. The historical spirit in Hegel's school pre- 

' *i 











vented Zeller from becoming too exclusively logical and 
critical, whilst, no doubt, the ideal side of Fechner's 
philosophy, which exerted an increasing influence upon 
Wundt, helped him to recognise that exact methods alone 
would lead only to one - sided results, that philosophy 
meant a Unification of thought ; it resulted in his in- 
creasingly pronounced endeavour to find a formula in 
which the spiritual side of things should be adequately 

About the same time a third influence began to make 
itself felt in philosophical circles in Germany. This was 
the belated influence of the philosophy of Schopenhauer, 
whose principal work had been more than forty years 
before the world.i it had remained unappreciated, and 

1 Of all the leading philosophers 
of Germany the personality of 
Schopenhauer has created the 
greatest interest. His philosophy 
was so much an outcome of his sub- 
jective character and experience, 
and so little influenced by the 
necessities and considerations of 
academic teaching, that he resem- 
bles rather independent thinkers 
like Descartes, Spinoza, and 
Leibniz, than the leaders of the 
philosophy taught at the German 
universities from WolfiF down to 
Hegel and Herbart. Among these 
he only recognised Kant as his 
immediate predecessor, and carried 
on a lifelong protest against the 
official philosophy at the universi- 
ties. The unique and solitary life 
which he led, away from intercourse 
with any of the leading thinkers or 
scholars of his age, gave him the 
reputation of a philosophical curio- 
sity, and added much to the 
popular interest which surround- 
ed his eccentric teaching. After 
the publication of a volume of 
Essays in 1851 with the title of 

« Parerga and Paralipomena,' 
and of the 'Letters on Schopen- 
hauer's Philosophy' by Juhus 
Frauenstadt (1854), Schopenhauer 
began to be known to a wider 
circle of philosophically interested 
readers. Three important earlier 
notices of Schopenhauer's system 
by Herbart (1820, 'Works,' vol. 
xii. pp. 369-91), Rosenkranz m his 
' History of the Kantian Philosophy 
(1840), 'Kant's Works' (vol. xu.), 
and Erdmann ' Geschichte der 
Neueren Philos. (vol. iii., part 2), 
as well as some notices by less 
well-known authors, failed to at- 
tract due attention. When the 
writer of this History came to 
Gottingen in 1860 Schopenhauer s 
name was hardly known even 
amongst students of philosophy, 
no reference being made to him in 
philosophical lectures ; and it was 
only after his death, in September 
of that year, that through various 
obituary notices and through a bio- 
graphy by his person^ friend, W. 
Gwinner (1862), Schopenhauer be- 
came for a time the most interesting 

little known, till the death of the philosopher in 1860 
drew the attention of wider circles to the originality of ^ 
his writings. Within a few years Schopenhauer became i 
the most popular philosopher in Germany. The reasons ' 
for this are not difficult to understand. After Kant had 
passed away, the more ambitious of his followers had 
proclaimed in various promising announcements the ad- 
vent of a new era of thought which should do justice to 
the high aspirations of the nation. These had found 
expression in a literature which has since become classical, 
in a revival of art and in all the ideals which produced 
and accompanied the battle for freedom and the Anti- 
Napoleonic Kevolution in Europe. Philosophy was to do 
justice to the logical emancipation of the older Eational- 
ism and the newer Criticism, as much as to the inwardness 
of the older Mysticism and the more recent spiritualism 
of the Eomantic School. It was to unite Science, Art, 
and Keligion, the intellectual and spiritual interests, into 
one comprehensive view. The age was one of hopefulness 
and expectancy, of a high optimism, of ideals and striv- 
ings. The youth of Germany and the thoughtful public 
listened with enthusiasm and confidence to dozens of 
academic lecturers. It was the same age which witnessed, 
besides the political liberation of Germany, one other 

philosophical phenomenon of the 
day, being discussed in Reviews 
and pamphlets both in Germany 
and abroad. Since that time, and 
still more after the appearance of 
V. Hartmann's 'Philosophy of the 
Unconscious' (1st ed. 1869), the 
literature on Schopenhauer has 
grown to enormous dimensions, as 
can be seen from Ueberweg's 
Handbook (vol. iv.), where also his 

influence in other countries is re- 
ferred to. In England translations 
have appeared of his principal work 
by Haldane and Kemp (3 vols. 
1883-86), and of his Essays by T. 
B. Saunders (1891). Prof. Sully 
treats of him at length in his 
' History of Pessimism ' (1877), and 
Mi Thos. Whittaker has recently 
published a concise and spirited 
sketch of his Philosophy (1909). 










of the 
•• Forties." 


great practical achievement— the foundation of that great 
scheme of higher and popular education which other 
nations have found it impossible to imitate. When, 
however, after a considerable lapse of time, the outcome 
of the new philosophy proved to be delusive, when it 
failed to appreciate the growing importance of the 
Natural Sciences, when it entered into an aUiance with 
the reactionary movement in politics and the intolerance 
of ecclesiastics, when finally it appeared that the canons 
of the Hegelian philosophy were used alike by the 
orthodox and by unbelievers, the popular interest and 
belief in this philosophy began to wane. For a moment 
it appeared as if the belief in Idealism might be replaced 
by that in Materialism : there is no doubt that a certain 
section of the intelligent public in Germany was, and still 
is, strongly imbued with and influenced by the teachings 
of the materialistic writers of the Forties. For the more 
thinking section these crude doctrines could, however, 
have no lasting attraction. At that moment there 
existed in Germany only two thinkers who might have 
met the much felt need of a new doctrine, namely, 
Lotze and Fechner. The causes which prevented either 
"^^ them forming a school of followers will have our 
attention in the sequel of this History ; perhaps it is 
sufficient to say here, that neither of them, for different 
reasons, took up a clearly defined position, or summed 
up his teachings in an easily intelligible formula,^ such 
as the speculative mind had been accustomed to find in 

1 Lotze was, in the beginning, 
quite misunderstood. His real 
position came out clearly only in 
his later writings ; and as regards 

Fechner, he was known at that 
time as a scientific writer and as a 
humourist under the pseudonym of 
Dr Mises. 


the earlier systems. A general scepticism settled upon 
men's minds, a deep-seated doubt as to the capacity of 
the human intellect to solve its highest problems. At 
the same time the failure of the theoretical politicians, 
which the events of the year 1848 had made only too 
evident, assisted in producing a general discouragement, 
so far as the highest practical, as well as intellectual, 
interests were concerned. 

Under these circumstances the philosophy of Schopen- 
hauer came to many younger minds as a kind of revela- 
tion. It was sufficiently speculative to satisfy the 
idealistic craving; it summed up its teaching in an 
intelligible formula ; it supported its doctrines by a 
great wealth of artistic insight ; and it contrasted favour- 
ably with the writings of Hegel by the elegance and 
hicidity of its literary style. Add to this, that it was 
highly spiced by brilliant and unsparing invective against 
the philosophers who had so long, by unfulfilled promises, 
led the nation astray ; it was also the first attempt in 
Germany to drop, in the discussion of the highest 
problems, the professorial and academic tone, which to 
many practically minded people had assumed too much 
of self - assurance and the pride of infallibility. Un- 
fortunately the theoretical principles of Schopenhauer's 
philosophy were, in their practical application to ethical 
problems, joined to a pessimistic view of the world and 
life. This had its origin in personal traits of character, 
and was fostered through the study of the philosophy of haue?r 


the East, then newly introduced into Europe. It was an accident, 
opposed to the spirit of Plato, which likewise influenced 
Schopenhauer, and it stands in no logical connection with 



Realism of 



his abstract principles. Allied as it was to that sensation 
of world-sickness which ran through a large portion of 
Continental literature, it appealed to many youthful and 
ardent spirits who found the ideals of a former generation 
destroyed and its hopes abandoned. 

It gave, as it were, a philosophical explanation of t,he 
general and growing feeling of disappointment. Similar 
causes may have worked to secure fphenome-1 popu- 
larity of Eduard von Hartmann's^ ' Philosophy of the 
Unconscious.' Further developments of this ine o 
sentiment rather than of thought, in which the nighes 
virtues were considered to be those of resignation, of 
fortitude in suffering, and of sympathetic compassion 
with existing evils, have led many minds to a philosophy 
of despair. It took a singular turn in the writings of 
Friedrich Nietzsche, where it produced a reaction in the 
direction of an extreme individualism, which preached 
the necessity of a superhuman effort through which to 
overcome the indifferentism of the age, and lead it to a 
renewed grasp of the great Realities. 

In the foregoing rapid sketch I have confined myself 
almost exclusively to German philosophy. For a long 
time indeed, German philosophy was the philosophy par 
e.xcdU'n.e. In Germany itself, wliere many histories of 




1 Prof. Sully in his interesting 

volume on 'Pessimism' mentions 

in the Preface to the 2nd edition 

several other pessimistic , writers 

whose works have had considerable 

popular influence in Germany. 

Among these the most extreme is 

probably Philipp Mainlander (pseu- 

donymf or PhihppBatz), who wrote a 

' Philosophy of Redemption ( 1 o / o j, 

which ran through several editions. 

It is, however, well to note that, 
though not so conspicuously as m 
the case of Hegel, the philosophy 
of Schopenhauer lends itself to a 
twofold development. Not only 
have we the reaction in Nietzsche, 
mentioned in the text, but we have 
also the remarkable writings ot 
Paul Deussen, of whom more m the 

modern philosophy have been written, scarcely any notice 
was taken during the first two-thirds of the century of 
philosophy outside of Germany ; in fact, such did not 
exist, according to the opinion of many eminent German 
thinkers. The contempt with which the Scottish philo- 
sophy of Common-sense and the French Eclecticism of 
Victor Cousin were regarded, prevented for a long time 
a due appreciation of many valuable new ideas, which 
with less ostentation, nevertheless, made their way in 
neighbouring countries. The enormous bulk of work 
which issued annually from the German Universities, in 
almost every field of knowledge, absorbed the attention 
to such an extent that no space or time was left for the 
recognition of what was done outside of academic circles 
or in other countries. As I mentioned before, the writ- 
ings of Schopenhauer did a great deal to break down the 
supposed privilege of a professorial class to settle the 
liighest and most important questions. About the same 
time two eminent foreigners began to attract the atten- 
tion of German students as well as of the non-academic 
public. These were^Ernest Eenan in France and Charles 
Darwin in England. A knowledge of Auguste Comte, 
though so much before Eenan, and still more, an appreci- 
ation of the earlier English psychology o f Mill, Ba in, and 
Spencer, belongs to even a later period of German philo- 
sophy. Nevertheless, these less ostentatious beginnings 
of the new thought in England and in France have 
probably done more than the voluminous writings of 
German philosophers to place philosophical thought in 
an entirely altered position during the last quarter of the 





I have already referred to the fact that, whereas 
philo ^W thought in the beginning of the century 
Itd^ainly in the real, of logic, -taphys.c.^^^^^ 

psychology at the end ^^^l^J;^ X. 
^ppms to be gradually superseamg aix , , , 

s udy of Sociology, a term which was introduced by 
tulte Comte, and has latterly become a watchword 
fn^he literature of the whole of Western Europe- 
test in Germany. This phenomenon ^as va^.^ ^^^^^^^ 
very deep-seated causes, which have shown themselves 
in all the three countries, but in different forms. They 
in all tne I drastically, in 

showed themselves first ot all, ana m 
France, where the Bevolution had made a cl^n sweep 
of many of the older foundations of society, and where 
men of'the highest order and in almost every epa^- 
ment of science and literature had speculated or prac 
Xrily worked in the direction of a reconstruction of 
ZX. A temporary check was indeed put upon 
re\ndeavours by the reactionary -vem-t f ring 
the Kestoration. Nevertheless, all through the cen 
tury, French literature has systematically, or m more 
general ways, worked at the great social FoWems^ Jn 
England, though the movements were «- -^ j^^ 
the interests of the Masses, as opposed to those * *^ 
Classes, have increasingly occupied the attention of b^* 
statesmen and thinkers, the reform -^^^-^^^^^^ 
been the leading feature of internal politics during *^ 
greater part of the century. It was m England that 
retroblm of population and the evils of overcrowds 
were' first openly discussed, and it is not too much o 
say that the misery of the residuum which the con 



centration in large cities has brought about has grad- 
ually become in general literature, as well as in phil- 
osophical, ethical, and religious writings, the great topic 
of the day. 

The impossibility which not only philosophical theo- 64. 

• J • Temporary 

lists, but also religious workers, have experienced m decline of 

' ^ ^ philosophic 

dealing with this great problem, which we may, for the interest. 
moment, call the salvation of society, has in this 
country brought about a widespread feeling of dismay, 
and deprived not only philosophical doctrines of their 
interest, but also religious beliefs of that hold which 
they once had on the minds of men. In Germany the 
older forms of religious belief had in the eighteenth cen- 
tury been largely superseded by rationalism ; this again 
for a time looked as if it would yield to the deepening 
and spiritualising influence of the idealistic philosophy. 
But when the latter appeared to many to be uncertain 
in its results and delusive in its promises, a reaction 
set in which produced for a long time an indifferentism, 
not only towards religious, but also towards philosophical 
teaching. Add to this that the growing industrialism 
of the age, the commercial spirit, and the increasing 
wealth of the upper and middle classes, had found a 
convenient and comfortable popular philosophy in the 
shallow tenets of materialism. Thus we can say that 
philosophical thought of the highest order — i.e., the 
intellectual search for the great Eealities which underlie 
and sustain everything, the quest for the truly Eeal — has 
suffered bankruptcy, in Germany mostly through theoret- 
ical, in England through practical, causes. Nevertheless, 
it must be added that the very recognition of all these 






Hints of 
its revival. 



destructive agencies, both ia the realms of theory and 
practice, of science, literature, and life, has m many 
Lnds already produced a revulsion of feehng A des. 
is everywhere manifested once more to probe o the 
bottom the various agencies, intellectual, mora and 
material, which have led to this apparent collapse. 
Somehow or other the conviction seems to be gaamng 
.round that the great Realities, which in former tames 
religious faith and philosophical reasoning had combmed 
to brin- home to the human soul, have not disappeared, 
but have only been removed to a greater distance in 
time and space, as well as in the region of thought. 
AH the various formula which modem philosophy has 
introduced in this country and abroad, such as he 
unknowable," "the unconscious," "the incognoscible, 
do not signify a straightforward denial of the spiritual 
essence of everything, but indicate merely that the same 
is far removed from the reaches of the human intellect. 
For all that the agnostic can say, the Spiritual Iteahty 
may still be there, though it seems to him inaxscessible 
to the purelv intellectual grasp. The human mind can 
never remain, for any length of time, in a state of sus- 
pense, of doubt, and uncertainty. Individual thinkers 
and specialists, living in a community which is built up 
upon the foundation of certain time-honoured beliefs, 
may indulge in the luxury of withdrawing from the 
actual quest after the Iteal, leaving the same to others 
who are not troubled by their scruples; the agnostic 
may proclaim ever so loudly the impossibility of know- 
' ledge regarding the fundamental questions ; the cntica 
philosopher may define ever so clearly the hmits ot 



human reason; the more confident these self-denying 
assertions, the sooner will a reaction set in. The 
question then for us is this : Has philosophical thought 
merely exhausted its powers, or has it, at the very 
moment when materialism, naturalism, and agnos- 
ticism appear to rule supreme, still discovered some 
untried path and some unrecognised resources ? Has 
the ruling pessimism and indifferentism of the age given 
way at all to any signs of hope that the veil will once 
more be lifted and confidence restored ? Whoever has 
read attentively the philosophy of the last ten years in 
all the three countries cannot, I think, have failed to 
discover signs of the recurrence of a more hopeful line 
of thought. I shall have many opportunities of point- 
ing to this in greater detail and with more definiteness 
in the later chapters of the present section of this 

For the moment it may be of interest to refer, as I have 
done so often before, to the changes which the philo- 
sophical vocabulary of the three countries is undergoing, 
to the increasing array of new terms with which philo- 
sophical thought is being enriched, all pointing to the 
advent of some new era of thought. Without defining 
at present what is frequently only dimly foreshadowed 
in this new vocabulary, I will refer only to the term 
" Voluntarism " which Paulsen has coined and Professor 
Wundt has adopted to describe his ultimate philosophical ii 
position, to the philosophy of the " Id^es-forces " of M. 
Alfred Fouillee, and the "Philosophic de I'Effort" in 
fence, to the "Pragmatism" of the recent Oxford 
school of Thought, and to William James's ''Will to 

* Voluntar- 




n M 



believe" Many of these writers have been mfluenced, 
consciously or unconsciously, by the great truth amount- 
in^ almost to a discovery, contained in the philosophy 
of^chopenhauer, which emphasised the independence of 
the Will in its relation to the Intellect, and found the 
very essence of Eeality, the truly Keal, in a princip e 
of Action. As I remarked above, it was un ortunate 
for the reputation of Schopenhauer, as well as for 
the development of German philosophy, that Schopen- 
hauer saw in the Will, in the active principle, not a 
source of good, but of evil, and that in consequence 
his writings,, which otherwise might have had an inspir- 
ing and reassuring influence, became on the contrary the 
gospel of pessimism which has blighted so many hopes 
and deadened so many aspirations. 

It is interesting to note that the necessity of a de- 
velopment such as is aimed at in many modern schools 
of philosophic thought was not unexpected by earlier 
thinkers during the century ; that Lotze, after review- 
ing all the doubts and difficulties which beset the accept- 
ance of the belief in a spiritual and personal Creator 
and Euler, declared that belief was '' a resolution of the 
character" and not of the intellect. 

It cannot be said that the tendency to which i 
refer and which permeates much of recent philosoplncal 
literature, has yet attained that clearness which belongs 
to some earlier speculations. Perhaps the very nature 
of it will prevent it from ever submitting to the ordmary 
categories of logic, though the very fact is significant 
that logic itself, which for a long time was supposed 
to be permanently crystallised in Aristotelian formula, 



has during the last twenty-five years become again more 
fluent, more accommodating to the needs of modern 
thought. At the moment it looks more likely that 
philosophy has handed over the next great advance in 
human thought to the practical worker, and that the 
purely intellectual grasp of the new truths will have 
to await their actual realisation ; that they will have to 
become efficient forces in the life of society at large 
before some individual genius will find the logic and 
metaphysics of their essence, the intelligible rationale of , 
their activity. 

There is no mistaking the signs of the times; the 
tide is running away from abstract dogmas and meta- 
physical speculation. Both these have been tried and 
found wanting, so far as the great practical problems 
are concerned. Theology has failed to evangelise the 
masses, and philosophy to enlighten them. For a time 
all hopes were concentrated upon exact science, but this 
also has shown itself powerless to deal with fundamental 
questions, or to approach the ground and origin of things. 
Truth, in the higher sense of the word, as an expression of 
the truly Eeal, is no longer an object of scientific research. 
Exact science does not profess to deal with essences and 
existences, but only with what is apparent. This it is 
content to describe and interpret in the most consistent, 
the simplest, and the most useful manner. The value 
of science lies in its applicability to problems of industry, 
commerce, the useful arts, and, in a limited sense, the 
problems of administration. The latest leading ideas 
which have been introduced into Scientific Thought have 
^onQ much to remove still further out of our reach the 

i t M 





6! ! 
51 ^ 









elements in space and the origin in time of the exist- 
ences which are in and around us. The hopefulness 
which characterised philosophy in Germany and science in 
France in the beginning of the nineteenth century, and 
which, so far as the latter is concerned, found an ex- 
pression in the teaching of Comte, has not been realised m 
the course of the last half of the century. A large por- 
tion of the population of the most cultured nations, m 
spite of educational efforts, still partakes to a very 
small extent of the intellectual advancement which 
philosophy and science afford to a select few, not to 
mention the utter hopelessness in which large numbers 
of the population, in the great centres of so - called 
culture, have to pass their lives. Is it then to be 
wondered at that a distrust, not to say contempt for 
philosophical speculation, has taken hold of the public 
• mind ? and that the belief in pure science is not based, 
as it used to be, on the love of truth, but that it has 
increasingly what Bolingbroke used to call " a metallic 
flavour"? Nevertheless, as I stated above, the search 
for the truly Eeal is not abandoned, but looks for the 
effort of the practical worker. If the realisation of the 
great ideals which Christianity has set before us, and 
philosophy has endeavoured, perhaps not altogether sue- 
cessfully, to support, is the sole and only object of all 
practical Keligion, then we may say with some confidence 
that an increasing number of the thinkers of our age 
expect the next step in the solution of the great prob- 
lems of life to be taken by practical Eeligion. Assum- 
ing they are not mistaken in this, as I firmly beheve 
they are not, the first signs that this advance has to 

some extent succeeded will react again upon the purely 
intellectual courses of thought and imbue them with 
fresh vigour and hopefulness. Should we, however, be 
mistaken in this expectation, we can say this with 
certainty, that neither the most refined theories of 
science, nor the speculations of philosophy, nor the 
dogmas of theology will prevent the utter loss of our 
ideals, the ruin of the higher life of mankind. 

It has been frequently asserted that the philosophy e;. 
of the day is irreligious. This is only partially correct, of recent 

•^ *^ philosophy 

Many earnest thinkers in England and abroad are to religion, 
intently occupied with trying to understand the psycho- 
logical foundation and the historical growth of religion, 
which they look upon as a great Eeality, having an 
independent existence outside science and philosophy. 
If, at the same time, they refuse to draw into philo- 
sophical discussion those great Divine and human 
Truths, such as the nature of God and the scheme of 
redemption, which philosophical writers of the preced- 
ing age frequently dealt with in a prolific manner, we 
may look upon this as a sign of increasing reverence, 
and as an acknowledgment of the existence of other 
powers in the human soul than those of merely external 
sensation and logical inference. These thinkers are, in 
their writings, merely preparing the way for the new 

In the general Introduction I pointed out that I 
propose in this History to look upon philosophical 
thought as occupying an intermediate position between 
^ientific and religious thought. What has been said 
in the last few pages confirms this view, by pointing 






to the position which philosophical thought seems to 
occupy in our day. It would appear as if, at the end 
of the nineteenth century, philosophy was paving he 
way for a fuller and more original display of the 
creative forces of the human soul, such as manifest 
themselves in poetry, art, and religion ; for it is a tact, 
that for the moment these creative powers appear to 
have receded somewhat into the background, whilst, at 
the same time, much is expected from them. Wherever 
the vital forces in a society, or in an age, have not been 
absolutely exhausted-and I can find no sign of this 
in the present civilisations of Western Europe-such 
periods, where the higher creative and spiritual powers 
seem to be temporarily in abeyance, have always, sooner 
or later, been followed by periods of greater vigour and 
productiveness. Auguste Comte, in studying the histori- 
cal developments of human thought, felt himself justified 
in laying down his well-known law of the three states, 
-the theological, the metaphysical, and the positive.- 
as the rationale of the development of the human mind 
in its intellectual progress. Formulae such as that of 
Comte, or those contained in the doctrines of Hegel or 
Spencer, all suffer from the defect that they give no 
intelligible answer to the question, " What is gomg to 
happen when the final stage is arrived at? All 
historical evidence goes to show that no agency of pro- 
gress has ever continued to work unchallenged and 
uninterrupted. All processes in nature and society 
seem in course of time, to exhaust themselves and call 
forth counter -movements which gain force, as it were, 



through reaction and contrast. This has, in modern 
times, been abundantly evident in the rapidly succeed- 
ing phases of modern history. It has also been recognised 
by philosophical writers. Let us then try to correct the 
formula of Comte so as to bring it into harmony with 
the larger experience of the day. We might feel dis- 
posed to say that Comte was right in assigning to 
philosophical thought an intermediate or transitional 
position, preferring, on our part, to speak of philosophy 
rather than of metaphysics — as the latter term, though 
perfectly legitimate and useful, has acquired in the eyes 
of many persons a doubtful meaning. We might then 
go on to say that the stage of positive or exact thought 
having been reached in the course of the nineteenth 
century, this itself is producing the desire for a new 
departure, a counter-movement which will call forth and 
urge the active rather than the purely intellectual powers 
of the human soul. Philosophy thus occupies still the 
intermediate or transitional stage assigned to it by 
Comte; only that we now find ourselves, as it were, 
reversing the Comtian process of development, passing 
from the one-sided sway of exact or positive thought 
through philosophy to a renewed life, not of dogmatic 
Theology, but of practical Pveligion, bringing with it a 
fresh display of the creative powers of the human mind. 
In offering this concluding formula, I do not desire to 
attach much importance to any scheme which unduly 
abbreviates my task of exhibiting the mental forces of 
our century in the fulness of their life and their many- 
sided significance ; but conducting my readers, as I am 




proposing to do, through the labyrinthine mazes of 
philosophical thought, I believe they may be thankful 
for some guiding idea, though this at best is only tenta- 
tive. The sequel will give them ample material and 
opportunity to confirm or to contest this preliminary 




XOTHING probably strikes the impartial student of the i. 
progress of scientific and of philosophical thought more thejo&l 
than the changing and opposite attitudes which the andThifo- 


exponents of these two forms of thought have assumed 
in the course of the nineteenth century. This change 
has been more and more evident as the century has 
progressed. To a great extent we may even say that 
the attitudes have been reversed. The difference I refer 
to may be expressed concisely by saying: Science has 
more and more acquired the character of definiteness 
and the attitude of assurance; Philosophy, on the other 
hand, has become more and more uncertain and timid. 

In the beginning of the century, both in Germany 
and England, science and scientific thought played only 
a secondary part in literature and teaching. France 
was the only country in which it had early acquired 
that position and commanded that esteem which it now 
enjoys everywhere.^ In Germany philosophy led the 
way, and even in this country, where it could not boast 

^ See vol. i. p. 105 sqq. of this History, 





of the same systematic treatment, philosophical subjects 
such as Economics, Politics, and questions of taste and 
literary criticism filled the pages of those numerous 
and popular reviews which form such an important 
department of nineteenth century literature.^ 

1 In this country before the be- 
ginning of the nineteenth century 
there existed no important period- 
ical literature which appealed to a 
larger circle of cultivated readers. 
The British Essayists, headed by 
Steele and Addison, possessed their 
peculiar interest and have acquired 
the standinsj of classics. Some of 
them had European reputation and 
much influence, notably on Ger- 
man literature. The * Gentleman s 
Magazine,' founded in 1731, had a 
wide circulation, and imparted a 
largeamount of varied and desultorj^ 
information. The 'Monthly Re- 
view' (1749) and the 'Critical Re- 
view' (1756) had no commanding 
influence. The Reviews existing 
in the beginning of the nineteenth 
century were said to be in their 
dotage. At this time new life was 
infused into periodical literature 
from a quite unexpected quarter. 
The 'Edinburgh Review,' edited 
during twenty - seven years by 
Jetfrey, began its brilliant career 
with quite unforeseen success in the 
year 1802, and very soon became 
the organ of a distinct political 
party with a definite programme of 
reform in things political, social, 
and literary. It provoked in the year 
1809 the foundation of a literary 
organ for the opposite party, in 
defence — as was said — of Church, 
Tory, and War Principles. "The 
defence was a consequence of the 
attack. And it is fortunate that it 
was so. For besides getting these 
opinions fairly discussed, the party 
excesses natural to any unchecked 
publication were diminished ; and 
a work arose which, in many re- 
spects, is an honour to British 

literature, and has called out, and 
indirectly reared, a great variety of 
the highest order of talent" (Cock- 
burn's ' Life of Lord Jeffrey,' vol. i. 
p 192). But this critical attitude, 
this spirit of "accuse and defence," 
peculiar to leaders in the legal pro- 
fession who launched this whole 
enterprise into existence, was not 
favourable to a just appreciation of 
the scientific spirit, and both the 
'Edinburgh,' as in the case of 
Thomas Young, and the ' Quarterly, 
as in the case of Charles Darwm, 
have shown themselves singularly 
incompetent in the discussion of 
novel and leading scientific ideas. 
The scientific interest was not in- 
troduced into general literature 
either in Germany or in this coun- 
try before the fourth decade of 
the century. In England it was 
characteristically introduced in con- 
nection with Economic questions. 
In Germany its introduction was 
partly through French models 
which had a great influence upon 
men like Humboldt and Lie- 
big ; and secondly, also through 
some of the representatives of the 
philosophy of nature such as Oken, 
Schubert, Steff'ens, and Oerstedt. 
Under the influence of these very 
different interests, review literature 
in Germany and in England has in 
the course of the century become 
more and more expository and 
representative rather than critical 
—its object being to spread know- 
ledge and information and to abstain 
from premature criticism. All thi^ 
is due to the increasing prevalence 
of the scientific as against that of 
the critical spirit. 

I propose now to inquire into the causes which have 2. 

Causes of 

brought about this change which, as I said, amounts in the change, 
many cases to a complete reversal of the estima- 
tion in which the mathematical and natural sciences 
on the one hand, the historical and philosophical on the 
other, are held. The earlier part of this History has 
furnished the answer to the first half of the problem : 
I there endeavoured to show that the success and 
assurance of scientific thought has grown with the 
growth and diffusion of the scientific spirit, which has 
been more clearly defined as the exact or mathematical 
spirit. It is however very likely, nay, almost certain, 
that the employment of these methods alone would not 
have secured for science that triumphant, not to say 
that boastful, position to which it has universally 
attained. This is greatly owing to the practical appli- 
cations to commerce and industry which have followed 
the discoveries of that long line of intellects of a high 
Older to whom the recent progress of science is due. 
It must in justice be added that it is not in their own 
writings and deliverances that we, as a rule, meet 
with that tone of assurance. This is more frequent 
among those who are occupied with the popularisation 
and diffusion rather than with the extension of scientific 

The second part of this History will have to answer 
the other half of the above question, namely, what are 
the causes that have brought about that great change 

in the general and popular appreciation of philosophical 

discussions'? How is it that instead of one or two Anarchy 

of recent 

dominant systems of thought we have now what may piuiosoph 

: I ( 

I 1 





be called a complete anarchy, or, at best, a bewildering 
eclecticism ? How is it that instead of stepping boldly 
forward with finished and assertive systems as did Fichte, 
Hegel, and Schopenhauer in Germany, Auguste Comte in 
Trainee, and Herbert Spencer in England, the thinkers of 
the day require us to be content with introductions to 
philosophy, with preliminary discourses, or with disserta- 
tions of an historical character which not infrequently do 
little more than hint with reserve and qualification at a 
possible solution which is promised but not given ? ^ 

1 That anarchy and inconclusive- 
ne33 are characteristic of the 
philosophic thought of the day has 
been very generally expressed from 
very different quarters, and is shown 
in many important publications. 
Among these I only mention a few. 
Prof. Ludwig Stein, the learned 
editor of the ' Archiv f iir Philoso- 
phie' (appearing in two series, 
historical and systematic), has given 
full expression to the state of unrest, 
not to say bewilderment, in con- 
temporary philosophical literature 
in his recent publication, ' Philo- 
sophische Stromungen der Gegen- 
wart' (1908), notably in the first 
chapter, which treats of the Neo- 
idealistic movement of thought. 
Another not less significant indica- 
tion is to be found in one of the 
volumes of a compendious German 
publication, 'Die Kultur der Gegen- 
wart' (ed. Paul Hinneberg). The 
volume in question bears the title 
of * Systematic Philosophy,' but is 
in reality what must appear to 
many a very unsystematic exposi- 
tion of recent speculation, inasmuch 
as it is a collection of mostly brilliant 
essays on various philosophical pro- 
blems from very different and 
frequently opposing points of view, 
without an attempt towards re- 
conciliation or completeness. If 

we turn to French philosophy, 
neither the earlier 'Rapport' by 
Ravaisson (1867) nor the shorter 
Review by Ribot ('Mind,' 1877, p. 
366), nor the quite recent sympath- 
etic Review by Boutroux (' Revue de 
Metaphysique et de Morale,' vol. 16, 
1908), can fail to produce upon the 
reader a sense of bewilderment, of 
the total absence of dominant ideas 
in the voluminous and interesting 
philosophical literature of the coun- 
try. In this country, where system- 
atic philosophy has only one pro- 
minent representative, viz., Herbert 
Spencer, the diversity of philo- 
sophic opinion is not felt so keenly 
as in France and Germany, where 
elaborate systems have in succes- 
sion directed philosophic thought. 
Nevertheless we meet here also 
with the complaint of inconclusive- 
ness. In the Introduction to a recent 
publication with the title ' Idola 
Theatri,' which purports to be a 
"criticism of Oxford Thought 
(1906), Mr Henry Sturt gives us the 
final impression which the teachmg 
of T. H. Green and his followers left 
on young minds : " I came to feel, 
in common, I believe, with not a 
few of my contemporaries, that 
the teaching we got was hardly 
strong enough in the explanation 
of definite problems. Some such 



I will at once answer this question. '^^ The great 4. 

. Critical 

change referred to is owing to the growth and diffusion spirit, 
of the Critical Spirit, taking this term, as I shall 
immediately proceed to show, in its widest sense. In 
order that my readers may have before them as clear 
an idea as possible of the main drift of the second 
part of this History, I may say that its principal 
object will be to exhibit the workings of the critical 
spirit and the critical methods, just as the main object 
of the first part was to exhibit the workings of the 
scientific or exact spirit and methods. In doing so I 
shall follow a similar plan to that adopted in the first 
part : trying first to trace the growth and diffusion of the 
critical spirit in general, leaving it to separate chapters to 
deal with the separate results which the application of the 
critical methods has brought about in the various courses 
in which philosophical thought has habitually moved. 

s 1 ! , 
\ if 


* <:i 

% ' 

thought, I remember, haunted me 
on hearing, for example, the logic 
lectures of the late Lewis Nettle- 
ship. He told us elaborately and 
often what knowledge was not, but 
having thus awakened expectation, 
he did little to satisfy it : we 
seemed to be alwaya on the verge 
of a great secret which our teacher 
would never disclose. T. H. Green, 
whose ' Prolegomena to Ethics ' I 
read somewhat later, was much 
more definite than Nettleship : but 
even his great doctrine of the 
Spiritual Principle, though it grati- 
fied religious aspiration, did not 
seem to be clearly reasoned out ; 
por could any one be sure how far 
It Would go in explaining the re- 
Hgious consciousness. Meanwhile, 
uo open - minded student, I am 
certain, was quite at ease about 
the attitude of the Oxford Idealists 

to modern science. . . . The want 
of receptivity, together with its 
own limited explanatory power, 
cast upon the Oxford philosophy of 
1885 a suspicion of reactionism and 
unreality which even an eager 
disciple could scarcely ignore " 
(pp. 1, 2). "The net result for 
Oxford of this remarkable litera- 
ture, which together with much 
exegetical work of a similar tend- 
ency shows the highest speculative 
quality, was that philosophy went 
down seriously in academic con- 
sideration from the position which 
it held at Green's death. The 
man of average calibre took more 
and more to commentating : and 
an Alexandrian period threatened 
to set in," &c., &c. (p. 3). This 
is almost identical with Prof. 
Wundt's well-known dictum, " Wir 
sind Alle Epigonen." 

! ( 







and wider 
sense of 


The word Criticism has been used in a narrower and 
in a wider sense. In English literature it acquu-ed a 
definite meaning through Pope's " Essay on Criticism. 
This essay is written very much in the spirit o the 
French writers of the seventeenth century, notably ot 
Boileau, who, on his part, followed in the steps of 
Horace and the ancients. In fa^t, criticism in this 
narrower sense is in modern literature a creation of the 
French mind ; it means a kind of philosophy ot taste, and 
is an expression of the literary, artistic, or sesthetical 
conscience of the age. In this sense it wa^ used by 
Henry Home, Lord Kames, whose 'Elements of Criticism 
appeared in 1761, and quite recently Professor Saintsbury 
has thus used the word in his valuable ' History of Criti- 
eism and Literary Taste in Europe.' ^ But the country 
which has not only produced separate and isolated 
works on criticism in this narrower sense, but has con- 
secutively produced a literature of criticism, is France. 
M. Branetiere says in this regard : " Even if the Italian 
and English critics are not isolated in the history o 
their literatures, one may say that they form a kmd ot 
exception, and that nowhere else than in France has 
criticism had for the last three centuries what we call 
a consecutive history. Must I add that it has been 
truly the soul of French literature ? I, at least, see from 
Konsard to Victor Hugo a revolution of taste and of 
literature which, with us, has had for its origm and 

1 3 vols., Edinburgh, Blackwood, 
1900-1904: Prof. Saintsbury de- 
fines the "criticism" with which 
he deals as "that function of the 
judgment which busies itself with 

the goodness or badness, the suc- 
cess or ill -success, of literature, 
from the purely literary pomt ot 
view" (vol. i. p. 3). 


guide a development of criticism." No other nation 
possessed an institution like the Acad^mie Frangaise, 
which, as the same author says, had according to the in- 
tention of its founder the special mission of establishing 
" a system of absolute confidence in the power of definite 
rules and of watching over their observation." ^ It may 
be of further interest to note that the English term 
"criticism" is synonymous with the French word 
"critique," and that the French word " criticisme " has 
been reserved to denote the philosophy of Kant and its 

In Germany the word "Kritik" has never been 
confined to that narrower meaning which is still largely 
current in this country : ^ it has always been employed 

1 M. Brunetiere defines the object 
of criticism as follows : " I'objet de 
la critique est de juger de classer 
d'expliquer les oeuvres de la litter- 
ature et de I'art" (Art. "Critique," 
'Grande Encyclopedic,' vol. xiii. 
p. 447— ^oc. cit., p. 414, p. 6). 

'^ This special meaning was in- 
troduced by one of the two ori- 
ginal thinkers who have swayed 
philosophic thought in France since 
the time of Cousin, and outside of 
the Thomistic movement within 
the pale of the Roman Catholic 
Church. These two thinkers are 
Auguste Comte and Charles Re- 
nouvier (1818-1903, 'Essais de 
Critique G^n^rale,' 1st ed., 1854). 
Comte coined the term Positivism, 
Renouvier, the term Neo-criticisme, 
to characterise their respective 
philosophical points of view. In 
this respect the latter occupies an 
important place in the difiusion of 
the critical spirit in the wider sense 
of the word. It is ** Criticisme " in 
the Kantian sense, as distinguished 
^rom that philological learning and 


criticism which was succesfully 
practised by some eminent mem- 
bers of the eclectic school of Victor 

^ Carlyle had already pointed to 
the use of the term in a larger sense 
than that prevalent in England. 
In his Essay on the ' ' State of 
German Literature" (1827, 'Col- 
lected Works,' vol. vi. p. 60) he 
wrote : " Far from being behind 
other nations in the practice or 
science of Criticism, it is a fact, for 
which we fearlessly refer to all 
competent judges, that they [the 
Germans] are distinctly and even 
considerably in advance. We state 
what is already known to a great 
part of Europe to be true. Criti- 
cism has assumed a new form in 
Germany ; it proceeds on other 
principles, and proposes to itself a 
higher aim. The grand question is 
not now a question concerning the 
qualities of diction, the coherence 
of metaphors, the fitness of senti- 
ments, the general logical truth in 
a work of art, as it was some half- 


; 1 
. I ■ 



,1 f 




in tbe larger sense to denote a definite attitude of the 
inquiring mind towards any subject which is accessible 
to a critical treatment. Accordingly we may look upon 
6. Germany as the real home of the critical spirit and the 
ST*"^ critical methods in their widest sense and in their most 
^:^^ unfettered development, as we may look upon France 
'""■ as the birthplace of modern philological and literary 
criticism In the former country a philosophy sprang 
up at the end of the eighteenth century which called 
itself critical "par excellencer and which, in spite o 
many brilliant attempts to supersede or dislodge it, still 
constitutes the rallying-point for most of the systematic 
thought which has not come under the influence of 
the scientific or exact methods. Although, therefore, we 

century ago among most critics; 
neither is it a question mainly of 
a psychological sort, to be answered 
by discovering and delineating the 
peculiar nature of the poet from 
his poetry, as is usual with the 
best of our own critics at present ; 
but it is, not indeed exclusively, 
but inclusively of those two other 
questions, properly and ultimately 
a question on the essence and 
peculiar life of the poetry itself. 
Carlyle also pointed out that 
Herder, Schiller, Goethe " are men 
of another stature of form and 
movement whom Bossu's scale and 
compasses could not measure with- 
out difficulty, or rather, not at all. 
And yet Carlyle does not use criti- 
cism in the wider sense in which I 
am now using it. The representative 
of the latter usage in this country is 
Matthew Arnold, who, in various 
writings, but notably in his ' Essays 
in Criticism' (1865), took the wider 
view opened out to him as much by 
the earlier and the more recent 
French critics as by Goethe and by 
the constructive criticism of Nie- 

buhr, introduced into this country 
by his father, Thomas Arnold, of 
Rugby. In the first of the Essays, 
" On the Function of Criticism at the 
present Time," lie defines as "the 
business of the critical power, in all 
branches of knowledge, theology, 
philosophy, history, art, science 
to see the object as in itself it 
really is. Thus it tends, at last, to 
make an intellectual situation of 
which the creative power can 
profitably avail itself. It tends to 
estabhsh an order of ideas, if not 
absolutely true, yet true by com- 
parison with that which it displaces ; 
to make the best ideas prevail. 
Presently these new ideas rea^h 
society, the touch of truth is the 
touch of life, and there is a stir 
and growth everywhere ; out ot 
this stir and growth come the 
creative epochs of literature (p. oj- 
Matthew Arnold also points out 
how the political and party interest 
so prevalent in England is detri- 
mental to this higher form of 
criticism, " the rule of which should 
be disinterestedness" (p. 18). 


cannot find in modern German literature the source or 
origin of any definite branch of criticism, we nevertheless 
are justified in selecting the modern literature of 
Germany as exhibiting more than that of any other 
country the working in a comprehensive style of the 
critical methods, the triumphs as well as the ravages of 
the critical spirit.^ »* 

J in 

^ To those who have been brought 
up in the centre of the thought and 
learning of Germany during the 
nineteenth century it may appear 
a.s if criticism exhibits there two 
very different aspects, being, on the 
one side, eminently .sympathetic and 
constructive (as manifested in the 
great edifice of classical philology), 
and, on the other side, unsympa- 
thetic and destructive (as shown by 
much of biblical criticism since the 
time of Strauss and the Tiibingen 
school) : accordingly, they might 
object that two such opposite ten- 
dencies cannot be brought together 
as manifestations of the same, the 
critical spirit. In defence of the 
position I have taken up, and after 
fully considering the pertinence of 
this remark, I have to urge that I 
regard the whole of German thought 
from an extraneous or international 
point of view. Now, not only do 
foremost representatives of German 
criticism in all its different branches 
use the term " Kritik," without any 
special definition, as quite intelli- 
gible to their readers, but there are 
also notable instances in which de- 
struction and construction are taken 
for granted as being two essential 
^ides of the same critical process. 
As an example, I refer to the writ- 
ings of Eduard Zeller, one of the 
few who displayed his great critical 
ability as much in his theological 
^ in his philological writings. 
Notably in his collected Essays, 
^nere he discusses at great length 

the critical writings of Strauss, 
Baur, and the Tiibingen school (see 
' Vortrtige und Abhandlungen,' vol. 
i. ), there is no indication that there 
is any difference between the criti- 
cism employed by them in biblical 
matters and that employed by 
himself in his 'Philosophy of the 
Greeks.' Mr Whittaker also remarks 
that with philological criticism, 
when dealing with literary crea- 
tions, the origins of which, like those 
of the biblical records, have to be 
traced, not in the full daylight, but 
in the twilight of history— such a.s 
the poems of Homer, Hesiod, The- 
ognis, and the beginnings of Greek 
and Roman history — similar disin- 
tegration and unsettlement of opin- 
ion has resulted. The fact that, in 
reviewing the labours of English 
and French scholars and historians, 
German authorities have so fre- 
quently stigmatised them as un- 
scientific and uncritical, has done 
more than anything else to identify, 
in the English mind, the historical 
and philosophical literature of Ger- 
many with a critical tendency which 
sometimes— as, e.g., when dealing 
with the Scriptures or with the 
creations of polite literature and 
art— has missed the essence of its 
subject and become unsympathetic 
through excessive minuteness or 
preconceived ideas. Evidence of 
this opinion among English writers 
may be found, e.g., in many pass- 
ages of Prof. Saintsbury's ' History 
of Criticism and Literary Taste.' 


> > 





It may already have occurred to some of my readers 
f^yT^ to ask the question: If it is true that the critical spirit 
^-.^K;.'?. has done so much to unsettle the philosophical mind as 
is the case according to the view I have taken aW, 
and if on the other side, the scientific or exact methods 
have been so successful in producing detinitene^s and 
assurance, how is it that the latter methods have not 
been applied to philosophical subjects in the same way 
as they have been applied to the exploration of nature 
With this question we strike upon one of the.catdinal 
points which have been brought out in the course of the 
nineteenth century. For only towards the end of that 
. period has the thinking mind awakened to a conscious- 
ness of the weakness and limitations of the scientihc 
niethods,-points which have not even partially been 
settled without much controversy and many abortive 
trials Ever since the exact methods of research have 
been fully recognised in their power and frmtfulness a 
tendency has set in to apply them, not only to scientific 
but to every kind of knowledge. This tendency is 
already clearly expressed in some of the writings of the 
great French mathematicians at the end of the eighteenth 
century ; ^ it became very marked in the middle of the 
nineteenth century in Germany,^ where periodicals were 

1 It was notably through Con- 
dorcet and Laplace that an ex- 
aggerated opinion as to the value 
and fruitfuhiess of the theory of 
probabilities in the realm of moral 
and social questions was spread. 
This was noted by John Stuart 
Mill, who, on his part, aimed 
at introducing into Economics 
that spirit of precision which 
belonged to what has been termed 

in this country natural know- 

^^"^2^1 do not here refer to the 
illegitimate use, in q^^si- philo- 
sophical writings, some of ^vilcn 
have attained to great PoP"Ja"*>' 
of such scientific terms as Matter, 
Force, Energy, Substance &c., 
even if used by scientific authontie 
like Carl Vogt, Ernst Haeckel, or 
Wilhelm Ostwald. 


started for exact philosophy, and where the new school of 
psychology, heralded by Fechner, and brilliantly repre- 
sented by Wundt and his pupils, was put forward as a 
kind of opposition to the older metaphysical methods 
which were considered obsolete and misleading. I have 
had occasion to refer to this school of thought in the 
eleventh chapter of the first section, where I treated of 
the psychophysical view of nature. I have there also 
referred to the restricted area within which the new 
methods have been successfully applied. Nor is it 
difficult to find the reason why these attempts, which 
were frequently put forward with so much self-assurance, 
have on the whole failed. What I have said in the s. 
introduction to the second part of this History about the their failure, 
difference between philosophy and science, between mind 
and nature, contains an explanation of the point in 
question. The exact methods of science, whether they 
consist in observation, measurement, or calculation, or 
in the combination of all three processes, can only be 
successfully applied to things or phenomena which have 
a definite location in space or in space and time. 
Definition in this sense is the first condition of the 
scientific process; nor would the scientific worker be 
satisfied if this fixing of his object in time and space 
were merely the result of one or a few observations and 
their record. The scientific mind is nowadays so fully 
aware of the numberless subjective and casual influences 
which tend to vitiate or make uncertain every single 
observation,^ that one of the first requisites is to 

U . 


^ Not only is the subjective char- 
acter of single observations fully 
recognised and corrections every- 

where introduced, but even pro- 
cesses of logical deduction in some 
of the purely mathematical sciences 





eliminate, by numerous repetitions and many co-operators, 
the subjective errors, the "personal equation" which 
attaches to every single observation and record. 

Now it will be seen at once that, as all the incidents 
of mental life are accessible only to one observer, and 
never repeat themselves even to him, this method of 
repetition and co-operation, so essential and indispensable 
in all scientific work, is inapplicable where we have to do 
with purely introspective or mental phenomena. In fact, 
the material cannot be prepared and got ready to be 
handled with the instruments of science in the same way 
as the material of the scientific worker. In a great many 
cases also it is only by the fugitive and changing meaning 
of words that we can transiently fix, to a small extent, 
the object with which we are dealing. If we try to rid 
it, as the scientific worker does, of its subjective colour- 
ing or its personal equation, nothing remains; whilst 
attempting to remove the shell we find that we have 

lost the kernel. 

There is a further point which is almost equally 
important in deahng with philosophical subjects, and this 
is that we involuntarily refer every mental, psychical, or 
introspective phenomenon to a personal unity or whole 
which we denote by the word mind, soul, consciousness, 
spirit, or some other similar term, and that we can only 

till Jacobi discovered another. Also 
the motion of bodies under the 
Newtonian law of attraction seemed 
for a long time confined to conic 
sections, till G. W. Hill showed the 
usefulness of dealing with other 
forms of periodic orbits in the 
planetary and lunar theories (see 
H. H. Turner, ' Modern Astronomy, 
1901, p. 257 sqq.) 

are recognised to be not infre- 
quently fallacious. Nowhere is this 
more the case than in the calculus 
of probabilities and its applications, 
as, for instance, in the kinetic 
theory of gases (see, e.g., 0. E. 
Meyer, * Die Kinetische Theorie der 
Gase,' passim). At one time it was 
thought that there existed only one 
type of a fluid ellipsoid in motion, 


with difficulty divest ourselves of the notion that the 
single phenomenon with which we are dealing is the 
transient appearance or experience of some underlying 
reality, subject, or person. Now it is quite true that, 
when dealing with external or natural phenomena, we 
are equally in the habit of introducing a fictitious unity 
or whole which we call nature, the outer world, or the^j' 
universe. This reference, however, to nature as a whole 
or a unity has little or no meaning for by far the greater 
part of all scientific work. In fact, the progress of 
science and of its applications is marked by an increasing 
tendency to restrict the field of observation and research, 
and leave out of sight the position which the special 
subject under review has to the whole. Indeed, we can 
say that the whole or totality is for the scientific worker 
simply the sum of its parts, and that, as the number of 
these parts is continually and rapidly increasing, the 
whole or comprehensive unity is more and more receding 
into the background and into a shadowy distance. But 
the unity or whole of mental phenomena which we 9. 


term our mind, soul, or consciousness is always before us, between 

•^ unities to 

accompanies all our reflections, and cannot be got rid of. no^jjfenf o? 
The process of isolation and abstraction so fruitful in Slfner ufe^ 
scientific research and in the acquisition of natural ^^^ ^^ ^^ 
knowledge is inapplicable to the phenomena of inner 


Thus, though the attempt has frequently been made 
in modern times to deal after the manner of exact 
science with the phenomena of the inner or mental 
world, this attempt has succeeded only to a very small 
extent; we may, moreover, truly say that wherever it 




Loss of 
view in 

has succeeded, in ever so small a degree, it has destroyed 
that truly philosophical interest which originally attaches 
to all phenomena of the inner world. While science has 
gained by the methods of abstraction and isolation, which 
we may term the analytical methods, philosophy has lost. 
It is important to bear this in mind whenever we 
.,_.. desire to form an opinion of the value of by far the larger 
S" portion of recent philosophical writings. That they are so 
piuiosophy. ^^^^^^^^^y deficient in depth, interest, and suggestive- 
ness, if we compare them with the writings of the 
great philosophers of ancient and modern times down 
to the middle of the nineteenth century, is just owing 
to this, that they intentionally confine themselves to 
detailed discussions and special analyses, purposely 
abstaining from a reference to the great central prob- 
lems which alone give to philosophy its real interest 
and importance. Concentrating themselves on analysis, 
they rarely venture upon the opposite process of synopsis 
and synthesis. Just as we have excellent treatises 
on biology which contain no definition of life, so it 
is suppo^'sed that we might have psychology without 
a soul, ethics without obligation or sanction, religion 
without a Deity and an object of reverence. The great 
thmkers of ancient and modern times, from Plato and 
Aristotle down to Schopenhauer, Comte, and Herbert 
Spencer, did not write on philosophical subjects before 
they had gained a firm foothold, a central and governing 
idea, a synopsis of their whole subject which threw hght 
' on the whole of their detailed and special discussions.^ 

1 Herbert Spencer, giving expres- 
sion to this idea, terms his philo- 
sophy " Synthetic philosophy," and 

Comte, on his part, though origin- 
ally a mathematician and analyst, 
had a very clear conception of the 




This attitude has almost disappeared in the philosophical 
literature of our day; most philosophical writers have 
lost the " magnet of their course " ; hence the anarchy 
of opinions and the labyrinthine meanderings of modern 
philosophical thought to which I referred above. They 
do not write philosophy ; they write about philosophy or 
philosophical subjects.^ 

This state of things has been brought about by the 
workings of the critical spirit. It will be one of the effec't of 


main objects of the following pages to show how criticism ^p^""^ 
has undermined one after the other of the foundations 
upon which former systems have built, how it has de- 
stroyed the central ideas from which emanated the light 
that illuminated the speculations of former ages. 

" For who, without some far-oflf light, his own soul ponders o'er, 
Is like the bark that compassless would reach a distant shore." 

Just as the question presented itself above: Why 
has philosophical thought not availed itself of the 
methods of science which have given so much definite- 
ness and assurance ? we may now put the reverse 
question: Why has the critical spirit, which has had 
such free access to every department of knowledge and 
thought, not wrought similar havoc in the regions of 



necessity of complementing the 
analytical process, the "esprit 
d'analyse," by a synoptical process, 
the ''esprit d'ensemble." To this 
I have drawn attention in a paper 
published in the ' Proceedings of 
the Philosophical Society of the 
University of Durham,' vol. iii, 
entitled " On a General Tendency 
of Thought in the Second Half of 
the Nineteenth Century " ; see also 

' * Edinburgh Review,' April 1911. 
I shall revert to this subject at the 
close of the present section. 

^ I have adopted this distinction 
from a remark made by the late 
Professor Sylvester regarding the 
mathematical writings of Augustus 
de Morgan. He said — whether 
justly or unjustly— that De Morgan 
did not write mathematics, but 
about mathematics. 





How has 




science, how is it that science has escaped the ravages 
of the critical spirit ? The answer to this question will 
introduce us to another large department of the philo- 
sophical thought of the nineteenth century— that which 
deals with the foundations, the validity, and the value 
of scientific thought and knowledge. Ever since Kant 
wrote his ' Critique of Pure Eeason ' the questions re- 
garding the principles of science and the nature of 
mathematical reasoning have formed a very important 
chapter of philosophy. The subject has been approached 
from the side of logic, psychology, metaphysics, and 
science itself ; both philosophical and scientific authorities 
have contributed towards the solution of the problem ; 
perhaps it may be said that it marks one of the few 
provinces of philosophical thought in which we seem 
to be approaching a consensus of opinion, to be 
tattaining to a tolerable agreement between philo- 

»'* 5sophical and scientific thinkers. There are few other 



■ instances in the large region of philosophical thought 

where as much as this could be said. These questions 

" fr- centre in the changed view which we take of nature and 

.. natural knowledge, the altered meanings which we attach 

to these words. In the sequel I shall devote a special 

chapter to this subject. 

13 In the meantime it is sufficient to say that science, 

S:n!^rea scientific knowledge, and scientific theories have not 

""*'"'■ escaped the attacks of the critical spirit.^ The mam 

1 1 do not here refer to the never- 
ending cavillings, on the part of 
theologians, against the results and 
teachings of scientific thinkers, I 
refer to investigations into the 
principles of scientific reasoning 

and the nature of scientific evi- 
dence, be it that of the senses 
or of the logical processes. In 
modern times these investigations 
start with Locke, and were con- 
tinued in his spirit by Mill ; more 

reason why they have not succumbed, sharing the same 

fate as the purely philosophical theories of earlier times, 

can be traced to the following causes. The first consists u. 

in this, that science has a definite object to deal with — wh/sdence 

has not 

namely, the phenomena of nature, which present at least succumbed. 

as much uniformity and regularity as is necessary to 

afford a firm and unaltering foundation for human thought, 

a strong foothold for the searcher and explorer. Of 

this sine qua non scientific workers have continually 

availed themselves wherever their results have been 

attacked; they have always retired into the stronghold 

of a small number of undisputed facts based upon 

observation and verifiable by every beginner or any 

critic who is qualified or willing to take the trouble. 

The philosophical or introspective thinker cannot do the 

same, and this is owing partly to the subjective nature 

of the object of his research, but equally perhaps to the 

fact that he is not so far removed from his object as is 

recently by Stanley^^Jeyons and 
Karl PearsonT' In *jrCTmany" they 
have two quite independent begin- 
nings, the first in the ' Critique ' 
of Kant, who looked upon mathe- 
matics and natural philosophy as 
proving by their existence and their 
results the possibility of scientific 
knowledge. Somewhat later, and 
for a long time unknown to the 
scientific world, the great mathema- 
tician G ausa began to question for 
Wmself^'and in correspondence with 
some friends, the fundamental 
axioms of geometry. In the sequel 
there arose out of these speculations 
the non - Euclidean geometry of 
Vasiliev Lobatchevsky and others. 
As this seeming paradox led to an 
extension of geometrical ideas, so 
in arithmetic the so-called imagin- 

ary quantities led Gauss in Ger- 
many, De Morgan and Hamilton in 
England, to an extension of our 
algebraical and arithmetical con- 
ceptions. KirchhoflF, and following 
him Mach, in Germany, and, as it 
appears, independently, Karl Pear- 
son in England, defined more clear- 
ly the real processes of dynami- 
cal reasoning and the fundamental 
notions of mathematical physics. 
Of this subject, which belongs as 
much to science as to philosophy, 
I have treated in the last chapter 
of the first section of this History. 
In so far as it affects philosophical 
thought, I shall deal with it in a 
later chapter of the present section, 
which will be occupied with the 
problem of Nature as a whole. 


' i'1 



the scientific worker; that he lives in much greater 
intimacy with it, and that, above the endless changes and 
the bewildering detail, he finds it difficult or impossible to 
rise to a conception of that regularity, uniformity, and 
continuity which seem to be the first conditions of all 

human certainty. 

It may here be mentioned that in the course of that 
searching investigation, that scrutiny to which scientific 
thought has been subjected during the nineteenth cen- 
tury, we have come to see that those three requisites of 
scientific certainty, those foundations of natural know- 
ledge—regularity, uniformity, and continuity,— may after 
all be to a large extent fictitious, having their origin 
not so much in nature itself as in the powers and 
limitations of the human mind. I have had occasion to 
point to this in the earlier part of this History, and to 
point out how the degree of certainty in the various 
sciences depends almost ^rely upon the amount of 
abstraction to which they have attained, that the closer 
we approach the single facts, things and phenomena of 
nature as they present themselves in the actual world 
itself and not in the artificial world— such as the labo- 
ratory, the museum, or the dissecting-room,— the more 
we come, so to speak, to close quarters with nature 
itself, the more uncertain and imperfect becomes our 
knowledge. Such is notably the case with the phe- 
nomena of Life, be it in the Individual or in Society. 
But there is another equally important feature 
peculiar to scientific knowledge, which has become more 
and more prominent during the nineteenth century, 
and with which the scientific student will always defy 


the critical scholar. He can increasingly maintain that 15. 
his theories, be they philosophically valid or not, are strength in 

,. ,, PI, , their prac- 

practically useful, that they work, that his methods are *^^^^ ^**^^*y' 
at least clear and definite, his path distinctly marked 
out, his conclusions logically consistent, that his know- 
ledge is daily increasing, and that, above all, he can 
foretell in many cases what will happen, discover that 
which has been hidden, and that the practical applica- 
tions and triumphs of technical science are the most 
eloquent testimony to the value of his pursuits, suffic- 
ing to dispel all critical doubts in the mind of any 
reasonable person. 

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that the object 
of scientific research, the facts and processes of nature, 
are not really accessible to human criticism. Criticism 
implies a standard from which we can judge the object 
of our reflection. It further implies that what we 
criticise might have been different. JSTow we have le. 
no standard from which we can judge :N"ature herself, mln'irnDot 
and we have no justification for the assumption that "at^^e. 
facts and events in the natural world might have been 
different from what they are. Nature is simply what 
she is, and if we attempt to pass judgment upon her 
phenomena we transcend the limits of natural know- 
ledge, we import considerations which are foreign to 
science. Nature may be an object of curiosity, of 
admiration, wonder, or awe ; she is not an object of 
criticism. Criticism is only possible where we can 
^Pply such categories as true or untrue, good or bad, 
beautiful or ugly, useful or useless. These categories, 
however, contain a reference to the human mind. Nature 

f 1- 




by herself is neither true nor untrue, neither good nor 
bad, neither beautiful nor the reverse, neither useful nor 

Our* statements and observations of nature may be 
true or false, the things of nature may be beautiful to 
us, the beholders, natural things and events may be good 
and useful for our purposes or the reverse ; but all such 
considerations import into our reflections a foreign, sub- 
jective or personal element which the purely scientific 
view must get rid of. Although therefore the 'writings 
of scientific authorities have been subjected to severe 
criticism, this criticism does not affect nature herself— 
that is, the object with which science has to do— but 
only the methods of the human mind, which subjects 
nature and natural things to the mental proi^esses of 
observation, registration, measurement, and cal^culatiTm. 
These processes can be conducted correctly or incor- 
rectly, elegantly or inelegantly, usefully or uselessly, and 
n are therefore subject to criticism. In fact, criticism 
f;SS.S:f means a reflection of the human mind upon itself.. It 
o^iSdf' is an introspective process. In the course of history the 
stacre of criticism has only been reached when and where 
a large amount of mental work, of thought in the widest 
sense! has accumulated. Wherever this accumulated 
mental work, this body of thought, has itself become an 
object of contemplation, criticism has set in. In the 
,8 course of the history of thought we have three great 
periods- critical periods, which coincide with the age of Socrates 
in antiquity, the age of Descartes in the seventeenth 
century, and the great critical movement of the nine- 
teenth century. 


Of these three periods the last interests us at this 
moment. As mentioned above, its representatives took 
the word " criticism " in the widest sense, and it may be 
said that in length of duration it has far exceeded any 
earlier critical period. It has now lasted more than a 
century, and we cannot say that we have yet emerged iasrwe\'ave 
from it. The critical movements of former times were emerged, 
quickly followed by renewed creative activity, by novel 
constructive efforts, by the dogmatism of new systems 
and schools of thought.^ It is true that the critical move- ' 
ment so splendidly represented in Germany by Lessing 
(1729-81) and Kant (1724-1804) was followed by the 
great productive era of classical literature and a brilliant 
succession of speculative systems of philosophy which 
for the greater part of half a century forced into the 
background the workings of the critical spirit. These 
workings, nevertheless, proceeded without interruption, 
and became so much the more evident and effective 
when the productive powers of German poetry, literature, 
and philosophy had exhausted themselves. Although 
therefore the beginning of the great critical movement 
in Germany may be placed in the middle of the eigh- 
teenth century, its full effect upon the whole of German 
thought and culture did not become evident before the 
middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it has 
reigned supreme, leaving almost the whole of the con- 
structive work of thought to the workers in the fields of 

Qul^^^^^K^"" f^"ni^' '"^ *^® ^''^y ^^^^^'^ P«^i«<^s of criticism, but, as 
quoted above (p. 97 note 3), looked I mentioned in the text, the criti- 

SDin-ro "'*"''.^'' ""r" *^® ''"^^^^^ ^^^ movement which still prevails 

SivT ^^"^l"^ riu? "^^y ^^^ **^^ ^^« °«* ^« y«t «l^o^'" any signs of 

bornrn Tu' I^'^ statement is making room for a creative era of 

"orne out by the experience of thought. 


J'l ' 



Its method- 
ical char- 




exact science. We may ask the question : What is the 
reason that, in former instances, the critical movement 
was so soon superseded by constructive efforts, whereas 
modern criticism, notably in Germany, has become a 
growing, all-destructive, and dominant current? Ihe 
answer to the question is this: Criticism in former 
times was not really methodical ; it was casual, m many 
cases brilliant, but it was not conducted on any fixed 
principles, and was therefore easily overpowered by 
novel and daring speculations and by that enthusiasm 
of creative effort which is always absent m purely 

negative movements. 

The critical movement both in the age of Socrates 
and in the age of Descartes developed very rapidly 
into scepticism, which, as it marks the last stage of the 
destructive movement of thought, has not m itself the 
germs of any further development, and is usually 
followed by a complete reaction in favour of an un- 
critical acceptance of some dogmatic position. Kant 
was the first great thinker who desired to interpose 
between the sceptical stage -which had been reached 
in England and France through the influence of Locke 
and Hume, of Bayle and Yoltaire-and a new posi- 
tive philosophy, which he had in view, a methodical 
examination of the ways and means by which the 
human mind could arrive at certainty and knowledge. 
He laid the foundation of a special philosophical dis- 
cipline which has latterly received the name ot 
" Erkenntnisstheorie " (theory of knowledge) in Germany, 
and which has become domiciled in England under the 
name " Epistemology." But neither Kant, in the purely 


philosophical, nor Lessing, in the wider field of criticism, 
was really radical enough. In their critical attempts 
they did not go to the root of the matter. Their 
successors have tried to improve upon them and to 
penetrate deeper into the recesses of all mental life and 
activity. With what results we shall see in the sequel. 
The reasons why both Lessing and Kant halted, as it 21. 
were, half-way in their critical discussions were pro- tionstoit. 
bably twofold. To begin with, they had an overwhelming 
material to deal with, all the inherited systems of 
ancient and modern philosophy and all the products of 
ancient and modern literature and learning, all the 
creations of ancient and modern art and poetry. In 
the middle of the eighteenth century, when Lessing 
and Kant started on their literary enterprises, the 
means of acquiring a tolerably comprehensive view of 
the great field of the mental labours of the past were 
exceedingly meagre. It was the time when the French 
Encyclopaedists started the first attempt to arrange 
methodically the whole body of accumulated knowledge 
and learning ; in fact, it was the beginning of what I 
have termed before the age of the encyclopaedic treat- 
ment of knowledge and learning which lasted for a 
century.^ This attempt to arrange methodically and 
to make inventory of knowledge went parallel with the 
critical movement. During that period we find con- 
tinually that the greatest- critics had to interrupt their 
critical work in order to gather the necessary informa- 
tion without which criticism was impossible or premature. 
We find this notably in the work of Lessing. And 

^ See vol. i. p. 34. 



reform of 
art by 



Still more is it the case with his great younger con- 
temporary and follower Herder (1744-1803), who, 
starting with so-called critical dissertations in the manner 
of Lessing, was very soon drawn away into new and 
unexplored regions which it was more interesting, use- 
ful, and congenial to his mind to explore than to 


The second fact which interfered with a thorough- 
going criticism and impeded the free development of the 
critical spirit was this, that German literature and 
thought had for some time past been moving m a 
restricted area, had been under the dominating influence 
of special schools of taste and thought. Out of these 
limited regions, prescribed in literature by the canons 
of French taste and in philosophy by a mutilated version 
of Leibniz's ideas, the German mind broke loose under 
the influence of English literature and philosophy. 

At the same time Winckelmann (1717-1768) initiated 
in Germany quite a new era of artistic reform through 
his anonymously published ' Reflections on the Imita- 
tion of the Grecian Works in Painting and Sculpture 
(1755). Through the discovery in Germany of those 
great artistic creations, which had been previously dis- 
regarded, of the glories of Grecian sculpture by 
Winckelmann on the one side and of the titanic and 
elemental greatness of Shakespeare by Lessing on the 
other, the purely critical attitude was changed into that 
of a comparison of the modern French creations with 
those of ancient Greece and of the Elizabethan period 
of English literature. As so frequently afterwards, the 
purely critical were changed into comparative studies, 


the historical took the place of the analytical treatment. 
In the desire for something freer, better, and greater, 
it was more natural to turn to the long neglected but 
recently discovered models of ancient and modern times 
than to develop something entirely original and novel. 
For it must not be forgotten that, whilst Lessing and 
Kant were the two great representatives of the critical 
spirit in the wider sense of the word, they were not 
essentially negative minds, and that they opposed the 
purely sceptical and destructive movement of which 
Voltaire in France was the most brilHant and popular 
exponent. Their object was not to destroy but to build 
up, to lead taste into new channels and to establish 
philosophy upon a firmer foundation; thus they were 
more attracted by Eousseau, his gospel of nature and 
his educational ideals, than by Voltaire, whose flippancy 
and artificiality were opposed to their innermost con- 
victions. In fact, they had definite ideals. They 
initiated what we may call the age of ideals, which 
governed the German mind for the greater part of a 
century. It may have been difficult at that time to 
express in words what these ideals really consisted in, 
and more easy for their upholders to say what they 
were not, what they opposed and disapproved of. But 
lessing and Kant had a strong faith in the existence 
of eternal standards of the true, the beautiful, and the 
good, and they strove for a general recognition and 
appreciation of them. 
If, in the light of history and subsequent events, we 

ask ourselves the question what this ideal which they iumL°4y: 
were striving after consisted in, we meet with an'"''""' 






expression which, ever since the times of the Eenaissance 
and the Eeformation, has been adopted by very different 
schools of taste and thought. It is the term Humanity. 
This term used to characterise a movement durmg the 
sixteenth century of which Erasmus and Melanchthon 
were the great representatives on the Continent. It 
was used to define the liberal studies of the Protestant 
Universities in this country and abroad. Still later the 
ideal of humanity was the term introduced to characterise 
the classical works of German literature in their con- 
trast to the productions of the age of enlightenment 
(Aufklarung).! a century after we come again across 

1 The history of these two move- 
ments of what is termed in Germany 
«*Humanismus" or "das Ideal der 
Humanitiit" has been written m 
recent times by Fr. Paulsen in his 
important ' Geschichte des gelehr- 
ten Unterrichts auf den Deutschen 
Schulen und Universitiiten vom 
Ausgang des Mittelalters bis zur 
Gegenwart' (2 vols., 2nd ed., 1896, 
1897). He there distinguishes two 
periods in this movement of thought 
in modern history. He deals both 
with the older form of " Humanis- 
mus " in the second half of the fif- 
teenth century, which came to an 
end at the beginning of the eigh- 
teenth century, and with the second 
or more recent form which started 
in the middle of the eighteenth, and 
as he maintains is coming to an end 
at the present time. Regarding the 
ideal of culture developed in the 
former period he gives the follow- 
ing definitions : " The aim of educa- 
tion as it was developed under the 
influence of ' Humanismus ' and 
the Reformation during the six- 
teenth century consists in : literary 
culture and confessional orthodoxy 
or, to use the formula of Jos. 
Sturm, 'litterata pietas.' Liter- 

ary culture is manifested in 'elo- 
quence,' that is, in the ability to 
write classical Latin in prose and 
verse To this the older humanistic 
teaching is directed ; imitation of 
the ancient orators and poets is the 
road to eloquence. The second 
epoch, the epoch of ' Neuhumanis- 
mus,' is primarily characterised 
by giving up this aim. The Latm 
imitation-eloquence and imitation- 
poetry had, in the course of the 
seventeenth century, become ob- 
solete ; into their place there now 
stepped first of all the French and 
alongside of it the German poetry 
and eloquence, themselves an imita- 
tion of Roman literature, from 
the days of Klopstock, Lessing, 
Herder, Goethe, there arose an 
independent German literature, the 
poetry of original genius. 1 his 
was enthusiastic for Greek hterat- 
ure as the more original literature 
compared with the Roman, it 
heralded the Grseco-German Hu- 
tnanismus.' Under its influence a 
study of Greek language and literat- 
ure becomes the main object ana 
professedly the main subject oi 
instruction in the German Higtier 
Schools. Through it the object ot 


the term in the later writings of Auguste Comte, and 
in our days the word is being used by a young school 
of thinkers in Oxford who have come under the influence 
of the original writings of the late Prof. Wm. James. 

The fact that the critical labours of Lessing found a 
first resting - place in an admiration of the Greeks, 
notably Sophocles, and of Shakespeare, — an admiration 
which was transmitted, deepened and widened, by Goethe 
and the Eomantic school, — has exposed the whole of 
German literature to the remark that it was largely 
an imitation of the ancient classics on the one side, and 
of Shakespeare and the English on the other. As a 
matter of fact, it was only through the personality and 
originality of the small number of its greatest representa- 
tives that the German mind, after going through the 
school of the ancients and of Shakespeare, emancipated 
itself and rose to the production of a few works of the 
highest order, equalling, though not excelling, the great 
models which were its masters. To follow up this 
development would, however, lead us far away from the 
history of the critical movement, and belongs really not 

classical studies is changed ; the 
aim of the Neo-humanistic school 
work is not imitation, either in 
the Greek or in the German lan- 
guage, but the culture of mind and 
taste through intercourse with the 
ancient authors in every branch of 
literature " (vol. i. p. 3). 

The ideal of humanity in the 
classical literature of Germany is 
also brilliantly dealt with by Hett- 
ner in his * Literatur- Geschichte ' 
(quoted vol. i. p. 50), and by Carl 
Schmidt in his 'Geschichte der 
Padagogik' (ed. W. Lange, vol. iv., 
1876). It will be seen from this 

extract from Paulsen that German 
" Humanismus," neither in its 
earlier nor in its later form, had 
any sympathy with the contrast 
emphasised in Auguste Comte's 
'Religion of Humanity,' namely, 
the opposition to religion with a 
personal Deity. It is also quite 
different from what has been 
termed "Humanism" in the new 
Oxford School, which would more 
appropriately be termed " Personal- 
ism " if this word had not already 
been appropriated by Renouvier 
for the religion of his Neo-criti- 



If < 





revival of 

to the philosophical portion of this History but to that 
which will deal with individual and poetical thought. 
It may here suffice to say that this deeper movement 
consisted in a still greater widening of the meaning of 
Criticism : it meant not only literary, philosophical, 
theological, and aesthetic criticism, — it meant Criticism 
of Eeligion, Morality, and Life. It is represented in 
England by Coleridge, Carlyle, and Matthew Arnold, in 
France by Eenouvier. 

The influence of Lessing and that of Kant did not 

run in the same channels. That of the former was 

most marked in the domain of general literature and 

of historical studies. In these two directions the 

influence of Kant was scarcely felt, or only indirectly 

asserted itself. But in the dominion of philosophy 

and theology the influence of both thinkers was 

combined, although their direction was by no means 

identical. So far as philosophy is concerned, the 

purely critical movement which emanated from Kant, 

and which down to recent times has prevented the due 

appreciation of the positive side of his philosophy, was 

to a great extent opposed by the peculiar turn which 

philosophical thought took largely under the influence of 

Lessing. For it was one of Lessing's great merits that 

he drew attention to the forgotten and neglected works 

of Spinoza. In fact, it has been maintained by F. H. 

Jacobi and by several of Lessing's biographers that 

Lessing was a Spinozist. At any rate, whether this was 

so or not, the discussion over the point which sprang 

up through Jacobi's publication of a conversation 

which he had with Lessing shortly before the death of 


the latter on the subject of Spinoza, drew attention to 
the works of that remarkable man, and introduced him 
to the notice of such original minds as Herder, Goethe, 
Fichte, and Schelling. In fact, it may be said that 
Spinoza was to the poetical mind of the great German 
classics a much more congenial thinker than Kant, 
The philosophy of Spinoza from that moment became 
and has remained one of the great agencies, not to say 
sources, of inspiration in the development of the ideal- 
istic systems which for fully thirty years pushed the 
critical philosophy of Kant into the background. 

It has been truly said that Kant and Spinoza form 25. 
the two poles around which the deeper thought of Ger- spLz^the 

, ,, , . poles of 

many at that tmie revolved.-^ This twofold attraction S.^^"^^° 
started about the same time, for Kant's ' First Critique * 
appeared in the year 1781 and Jacobi's 'Letters on the 
Doctrine of Spinoza' appeared four years after, in 1785. 
But the very different ways in which Kantism and 
Spinozism made their appearance — the former in a 
strictly philosophical treatise, the latter in a literary 
discussion ^ — correspond to the abstract logical character 


^ " A momentous coincidence 
willed it that just at the time 
when the 'Critique' of the all- 
destroying man of Konigsberg be- 
Kan to make headway, the most 
firmly jointed and effective of all 
metaphysical systems, the type it- 
self of dogmatism, became known 
HI Germany : namely, Spinozism. 
Through the controversy be- 
tween Jacobi and Mendelssohn, 
which referred to Lessing's posi- 
tion with regard to Spinoza, the 
doctrine of the latter had become 
the subject of the most lively in- 
terest, and this through the deep 

contrast that exists between them. 
Kant and Spinoza became the two 
poles around which the thought of 
the following generation revolved " 
(Windelband, ' Geschichte der 
Philosophie,' 4th ed., p. 475). 

'^ It appears that Goethe during 
his Strassburg period became ac- 
quainted through Hamaun and 
Herder first with the writings of 
Giordano Bruno, and was led from 
them to occupy himself with 
Spinoza, one side of whose doc- 
trine, the mystical and pantheistic, 
attracted him. He could not agree 
with Bayle, who speaks of the 



, t ■ •• 




of the former as compared with the vague, even mys- 
tical, meaning of the latter. That Kantism was not as 
abstract a doctrine as it prima facie appeared to be was 
made abundantly clear by the publication of Kant's 
later writings, which attracted not only philosophers by 
profession but also poetical minds like Schiller and even 
Goethe. On the other side, the strictly logical, not to 
say mathematical, formalism of Spinoza repelled his 
earlier admirers, such as Lessing, Goethe, and Herder. 
It was clearly brought out and appreciated in its con- 
sistency and in its ultimate conclusions at a much later 

impiety and absurdity of Bruno, 
and treats Spinoza not less un- 
fairly. In the year 1773 Goethe 
wrote the Fragment entitled * Pro- 
metheus,' in which some passages 
are quite in the spirit of Spinoza, 
and he tells us in his * Autobio- 
graphy ' ('Dichtung und Wahr- 
heit,' bk. 14 and 16) how Spinoza 
became a common and uniting 
subject of interest when, in the 
year 1774, he met F. H. Jacobi. 
Having only cursorily dipped into 
Spinoza himself, Goethe tells us 
that, whilst repelled by Lavater's 
orthodoxy and Basedow's didactics, 
he experienced an inner harmony 
with Jacobi's manner of approach- 
ing the Inscrutable for which to 
some extent he had been prepared 
by "assimilating the attitude of 
thought of an extraordinary man." 
"This man who impressed me so 
decidedly, and who was to have 
such an important influence on 
my whole way of thinking, was 
Spinoza. For, having everywhere 
searched in vain for a means of 
culture for my own perplexing self, 
I at last came into contact with 
' The Ethics ' of this thinker. . . . 
A large and liberal view into the 
sensuous and moral world seemed 

to be opened out to me. But what 
attracted me most in him was the 
boundless unselfishness which ap- 
peared in every one of his sent- 
ences." Goethe also refers to the 
totally inadequate article on 
Spinoza in Bayle's celebrated Dic- 
tionary,— "a book which through 
erudition and acuteness was quite 
as estimable and useful as it was, 
through gossip and sermonising, 
ludicrous and harmful." In the 
year 1780, not long after the 
meeting of Jacobi and Goethe, the 
former paid a visit to Lessing, and 
being desirous to learn more 
about Lessing's opinion regarding 
Spinoza, entered into a conversa- 
tion with him which he introduced 
by showing Lessing a copy of 
Goethe's 'Prometheus.' The pur- 
port of this conversation Jacobi, 
after the death of Lessing, pub- 
lished in his * Letters on the Doc- 
trine of Spinoza' (1785). This 
created an enormous sensation, and 
no doubt promoted very much the 
study of Spinoza, who had, in a 
one-sided manner, been considered 
by the popular philosophy of the 
day as an atheistic writer. This 
feeling was entirely reversed by the 
leaders of the New Thought. 


date. A great authority on Spinoza, who, for the first 
time, put before the English public an exhaustive 
study of his personality and teachings, sums up his 
appreciation of this remarkable thinker in the words : 
" Spinozism, as a living and constructive force, is not a 
system but a habit of mind, and as science makes it 
plainer every day that there is no such thing as a fixed 
equilibrium either in the world without or in the mind 
within, so it becomes plain that the genuine and durable 
triumphs of philosophy are not in systems but in ideas. 
Wealth in vital ideas is the real test of a philosopher's 
greatness, and by this test the name of Spinoza stands 
assured of its rank among the greatest." ^ 

As these words express most clearly likewise the 

position which in this History I am taking up, not only 

to philosophical but also to scientific thought, it may be 

well to note here that the breaking up of the strict 

logical formalism introduced into German philosophy by 

Wolff, and continued by Kant, through the Spinozistic 

thought of viewing everything sub specie mternitatis, ,, 

marks one of the great characteristics not only of 1^1^"^^'''^ 

German Idealism but indeed of the whole of the class- "''™'" 

ical and romantic literature in that country from 1780 

up to 1840,— a characteristic which is totally absent in 

contemporary philosophical literature in France as well 

a^ in this country. EngHsh philosophers about the year 

I860 began to make a serious study of modern German 

Idealism, starting with Hegel and going back to Kant 

as its origin. Twenty years later they recognised that 

p/4oT ^'^^^'''^^l^^^^^J^mom-. His Life and Philosophy,' 1st ed., 







it is quite as necessary, for the understanding of this 
remarkable movement, to go back to Spinoza,^ who, if 
not forgotten, was certainly neglected and egregiously, 
not to say shamefully, misrepresented^ by eminent 
writers in both countries. And, anticipating, we may 
go a step further in mapping out philosophical 
currents on the Continent, notably in Germany, by 
remarking that the current of philosophic thought 
which set in, in the middle of the nineteenth cen - 
tury, in opposition to the Hegelian attitude, may not 

1 Tliia interest in Spinoza pro- 
duced four important publications. 
Leaving out what was done by G. 
H. Lewes, who was probably led to 
Spinoza when writing his ' Life of 
Goethe,' and by F. D. Maurice, who 
inherited Coleridge's interest in 
him, also Matthew Arnold's brill- 
iant Essay (1865), we meet with 
the first fairly impartial and lucid 
exposition of Spinoza's teaching in 
J. A. Froude's article in the ' West- 
minster Review,' 1854. But fore- 
most among all stands the work of 
Sir Frederick Pollock, from which 
I have just quoted. It appeared 
in the year 1880, and gives in addi- 
tion to an account of his life and 
philosophy a complete bibliography 
of English and foreign books on 
Spinoza in the Introduction, and a 
history of Spinozism in the twelfth 
chapter, " Spinoza and Modern 
Thought." Almost simultaneously 
James Martineau had occupied 
himself with Spinoza, and brought 
out in 1882 'A Study of Spinoza.' 
In the last chapter of this treatise 
special attention is drawn to 
his work as a critic approach- 
ing the biblical records from an 
historical as well as a philoso- 
phical point of view. A few years 
later, 1888, there appeared in 
Blackwood's Philosophical Class- 

ics a volume on Spinoza by John 
Caird. This treatise, which deals 
with the "apparent inconsisten- 
cies "and "underlying unity" of 
his system, is written from a 
point of view influenced by Hegel- 
ian thought, which at that time 
was prominently represented in 
this country by the author and his 
brother, Edward Caird. These 
four works in the English language 
may be said to have corrected the 
many misrepresentations and mis- 
understandings regarding Spinoza's 
person and teaching which abound- 
ed in the earlier literature of this 

'^ There seems no doubt that 
Malebranche and Bayle between 
them must be blamed for having, 
through their superficial treatment 
of Spinoza, prevented for a long 
time an adequate estimation of the 
importance of his doctrine, not 
only among their countrymen — 
such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, and 
the Encyclopaedists — but also in 
this country, where, for instance, 
even so temperate a thinker as 
David Hume betrays a lamentable 
ignorance of the subject, calling 
Spinoza a " famous atheist " and his 
fundamental principle a "hideous 
hypothesis" ('Treatise of Human 
Nature,' part 4, sec. 5). 


incorrectly he described as an importation into the 
critical atmosphere then everywhere prevailing of the 
spirit of Leibniz. JThe foremost representative of this- 
widely different " hai3it of thought " is Hermann Lotze.. 
On the other side, the strictly logical monism of Spinoza, 
as detached from his mystical pantheism, has latterly 
found favour among prominent representatives of 
Naturalism, or even Materialism. Be this as it may, 
Lessing and many of his followers certainly found in 
the philosophy of Spinoza a resting-place and refuge 
from the prosaic moralising and shallow rationalism of 
the Deists in England and the Encyclopedists in France. 
Compared with these Spinoza rose before them as an 
inspired writer, as one who looked at the great life prob- 
lems not from a utilitarian and narrowly moralising 
point of view but sub specie ceternitatis. 

:N"ow though Spinoza is commonly instanced as a 
decided dogmatist in opposition to Kant's criticism, and 
though Kant himself knew little of Spinoza and never 
mentions Lessing, these three thinkers nevertheless 
contributed, each in his way, to cultivate an important 
field of modern research which, perhaps more than any 
other, exhibits the workings of the modern critical 
spirit. Each in his way helped to establish what has 
been termed the Higher Criticism in Theology. The 27 
two great critical movements in modern German Theology, lS"' 
Higher Criticism as applied to the biblical records on f^^'m 
the one side, and the philosophical interpretation of """''""' 
religious beliefs on the other, can both, to a large extent, 
point to Spinoza, Lessing, and Kant as their earliest 



Lessing was not a university professor ; he moved m 
wider literary and artistic circles at Berlin -d H^-^^ 
and at last became librarian at Wolfenbuttel. His 
influence was not that of an academic teacher; like 
Leibniz before him, he did not gather around him a 
circle of pupils. Accordingly criticism with him was 
not reduced to a teachable method, but remained an 
oric^inal and personal feature of his literary gemus. It 
wal especially in his style that he marked an era m 
German literature.^ In this respect he resembled 
Diderot in France, for whom he had the greatest 
admiration. As for Kant, his academic activity 
moved in the traditional courses of philosophical 
teaching, and his peculiar method was made known 
to the world mainly through his writings. His pupils 

1 Carlvle in his Essay ('Edin- 
burgh Review,' 1827) on the "State 
of German Literature," being a re- 
view of two books on German 
literature by Franz Horn, says of 
Lessing : " It is to Lessing that an 
Englishman would turn with readi- 
est affection. . . . Among all the 
writers of the eighteenth century, 
we will not except even Diderot 
and David Hume, there is not one 
of a more compact and rigid intel- 
lectual structure who more dis- 
tinctly knows what he is aiming at, 
or with more gracefulness, vigour, 
and precision sets it forth to his 
readers. He thinks with the clear- 
ness and piercing sharpness of the 
most expert logician ; but a genial 
fire pervades him, a wit, a heartiness, 
a general richness and fineness of 
nature, to which most logicians are 
strangers. He is a sceptic in many 
things, but the noblest of sceptics ; 
a mild, manly, half-careless enthu- 
siasm struggles through his mdig- 
nant unbelief ; he stands before us 

like a toilwom but unwearied and 
heroic champion, earning not the 
conquest but the battle ; as indeed 
himself admits to us, that 'it is not 
the finding of truth, but the honest 
search for it, that profits.' " 

In spite of this appreciation ot 
Lessing and of his style, which wil 
be found precisely such as we ot 
England are accustomed to admire 
most," Lessing is probably, of all 
the German Classics, the one who 
is least known, read, or written 
about, either in France or England. 
This is partly owing to the tact 
that he is characteristically German, 
having, next to Luther, done more 
than any other writer to create 
1 modern German style, of which he 
is one of the very few really great 
1 representatives, but still more owuig 
' to the fact that in all his critical 
writings he was a pioneer, and that, 
as such, his views have been either 
largely developed or superseded o> 
those who followed him. 


and followers, who soon filled to a large extent the 
philosophical chairs at the German Universities, were 
less interested in studying and promulgating his peculiar 
method than in expounding a few characteristic points 
or doctrines which for a long time became the watch- 
words of the Kantian School in a very uncritical fashion. 
Such were, e.g., the doctrine of the Ideality of Time and 
Space, of the Noumena {or, things _in themselves) as 
opposed to Phenomena, of the difference of the theoretical 
and the practical Eeason, of the supremacy of the latter, 
and of the Categorical Imperative as the fundamental 
principle of Ethics. The really critical work which 
Kant began, and which he only carried out to a very 
limited extent, was followed up by such men as Keinhold 
and Fries, and later by Herbart ; to some extent also by 
Schopenhauer, but in the case of the latter, as well as of 
Herbart, from original and independent points of view 
which they had gained. The exclusively critical task of 
deciding as to the powers and limits of the human 
intellect and the nature of scientific knowledge was 
taken up as a definite problem much later on, partly as 
a continuation and confirmation of Kant's views, partly 
also in opposition to them. The solution of this problem 
was very much assisted and influenced by two independent 
lines of research. The first of these was the analysis of 
the methods of science, of which John Stuart Mill was 
the great representative ; the second was the revival of 
Aristotelian studies, in which Trendelenburg of Berlin 
was the principal leader. It was only after these 
different lines of research had been pursued for some 
time that the new critical discipline of Epistemology 


(Erhenntnisstheorie) was established and named by 
Eduard Zeller (1862). Since that time it has become 
and remained a favourite subject for lectures at the 
German Universities.^ 


The great influence of the critical spirit in Germany 
of which we have considered Lessing to be the first and 
most liberal representative, did not emanate either from 
him or from the great heroes of the classical period m 
German literature, but made itself felt only when it 
became introduced into academic teaching as a definite 
method, when it became domiciled at the German 
Universities. This took place, about the time when 
Lessing published his first critical writings, at the 
University of Gottingen. It there met another im- 
portant tradition, which assisted, and in many ways 
strengthened it : the connection with English literature 
and learning. Many academic teachers contributed 
there to introduce and establish what may still be con- 

1 It may here be mentioned that 
Lotze forms in this respect an 
exception among modern German 
philosophers. In many passages of 
his writings he has denounced 
what, he maintains, has been falsely 
considered to be Kant's real object, 
by "drawing attention to the m- 
evitable circle in which a theory of 
knowledge must move." Most 
clearly has he put this in one of 
his last deliverances ("Philosophy 
in the Last Forty Years," 1880, 
' Contemporary Review') : " It is no 

matter whence our ideas come, and 
how they form themselves within 
us psychologically, but what is ot 
consequence is to know whether, 
when we have them, we may bait 
with them, or must go farther and 
necessarily make judgment upon 
them, in order to secure the com- 
plete harmony of our reason witn 
itself and with the given facts the 
only goal which is at all attain- 
able by us" (reprinted in ^Meme 

Schriften,' ed. Peipers, vol. mj 


fcjidered the highest standards of academic teaching and 
method. For our purposes it will be sufficient to single 
out a few names as leaders and representatives of the 
critical method which then already received the name 
of the "Higher Criticism."^ These names were J. M. 
Gesner (1691-1761), C. G. Heyne (1729-1812), and 
J. G. Eichhorn (1752-1827). I select these three 
names, as from them emanated two prominent streams 
into which the critical spirit poured its refreshing as 
well as its devastating waters, namely, classical criticism 
(philology) on the one side, and biblical criticism 
(exegesis) on the other. 

I have already on a former occasion (vol. i. p. 164) 
mentioned how the foundation of the University of 
Gottingen marked an era in the history of German 
thought. It not only initiated the modern conception 
of liberal studies in Germany, it also gathered into a 
focus intellectual developments which had before been 

tive higher 


and the 

^ Higher Criticism is frequently 
distinguished from Lower Criticism. 
The latter is occupied mainly with 
the text of writers, its emendation, 
purification, and restitution : High- 
er Criticism introduces the historical 
and philosophical aspects. It studies 
the genesis, historical surroundings, 
and antecedents of its subject, and 
advances to an interpretation of 
the meaning of prominent writers, 
notably the ancient Classics and 
the Holy Scriptures, aiming, in the 
last instance, at a reconstruction of 
the thought and culture of im- 
portant periods of history. This 
Lower and Higher Criticism is, as 
I have already remarked, quite 
different from that criticism which 
18 allied to rhetoric on the one side 
and to the history of literary taste 
on the other — two distinct studies 

which have in modern literature 
been carried on consistently and 
continuously only in France. Prof. 
Saintsbury in the work already 
referred to {supra, p. 96) separ- 
ates this criticism from that kind 
of criticism I am now dealing 
with, which is, in its development, 
though not in its origins*, a char- 
acteristic creation of the modern 
German mind. For this criticism, 
with its philological, philosophical, 
and theological branches, Prof. 
Saintsbury has evidently only scant 
appreciation (see loc. cit., vol. i. 
p. 4). On the term Higher Criti- 
cism, as connected with Bible 
studies, see H. S. Nash, ' The His- 
tory of the Criticism of the New 
Testament' (1900), especially p. 
12, &c. 






geographically separated. It inherited the taste for 
classical studies, of which Thuringia and Saxony had 
been the traditional homes."^ With this it now united 
the study of English literature and learning.^ It also 
stood in intimate connection with the polite literature of 
Germany,^ one of the earliest organisations of the new 

^ A beginning had been made in 
this direction already by the founda- 
tion of the University of Halle 
(1693). But "free inquiry" was 
there still hampered by Wolff's 
Rationalism on the one side and 
Fraucke's Evangelicalism on the 
other. Speaking mainly of philo- 
logical studies, Professor Ulrich 
vou "Wilamowitz-Moellendorff says 
(Lexis, 'Die Deutschen Univer- 
sitaten,' vol. i. p. 458): "It was 
first of all the foundation of the 
University of Gottingen (1737) by 
the electoral House of Hanover, 
which was at the same time the 
reigning House of Great Britain, 
that created an epoch in the history 
of philology." 

2 This influence was prominently 
represented at Gottingen by a re- 
markable man, who forms a unique 
figure in German literature. This 
was G. Chr. Lichtenberg (1742- 
1799). He was Professor of Natural 
Philosophy, and his name is pre- 
served in the History of Science 
through the Lichtenberg figures of 
Electric Discharge, the memory of 
which has been revived in recent 
times through Lord Armstrong's 
work on 'Electrical Discharge in 
Air and Water' (1899). But 
though a much valued scientific 
teacher, his importance lies in this, 
that he is one of the few great 
humourists in German literature, 
forming a link between the British 
humourists — Swift, Sterne, Defoe, 
and others — on the one side, and 
Jean Paul on the other. The 
union of scientific studies with 
polite literature is rare, especially 

in Germany. But that country 
possesses another prominent ex- 
ample in more recent times, in 
G. T. Fechner — a thinker little 
known in this country except as 
the founder of psycho - physics. 
Lichtenberg was a very popular 
writer, and many of his witticisms 
have survived in popular literature. 
Cast into the shade through the 
creations of the classical literature 
of Germany, and more or less for- 
gotten about the middle of the 
nineteenth century, his memory has 
been revived again by the republi- 
cation of his Collected Works, 
and notably by a collection 
of extracts from them by Ed. 
Grisebach (1871), the well-known 
editor of Schopenhauer, and himself 
a humouristic writer of merit. It 
was especially the great actor Gar- 
rick and the painter Hogarth who 
became known to Germany through 
Lichtenberg's 'Letters' and 'Ex- 
planations.' It is interesting to see 
how ideas on the relation of philo- 
sophy, science, and religion now 
current, flitted prematurely through 
the mind of Lichtenberg more than 
a century ago. 

3 The importance of Gottingen 
as a centre of literature, as well as 
of science, is little appreciated, 
especially in foreign works dealing 
with German thought and literat- 
ure. Nevertheless, what is termed 
the Gottingen school marks an im- 
portant development in the polite 
literature of the country, from 
which emanated much that has 
been of great value. Histories of 
German literature, like those of 



literary spirit, the " Hainbund," ^ having been founded 
in its midst. During the last third of the eighteenth 
century the University of Gottingen launched into 
existence the methodical treatment of classical, historical, 
theological, legal, and economic studies in such a way 
that in all these five branches the great teachers of 
Gottingen became the founders of definite schools which 
gradually spread over the whole of Germany and of the 
German - speaking countries. Criticism which before 
that, and in other countries, had frequently degenerated 
into scepticism or wasted itself in polemics, lowering 
itself not infrequently to personal invective, became in 
the hands of the great Gottingen professors and their 
pupils an academic method and an instrument of 

Gervinus and Hettner, give full 
information on this subject. The 
migration of the centre of German 
literature, as distinguished from 
science and learning, from Gottingen 
to Weimar, was followed by inde- 
pendent growth on both sides. 
The literary and poetical genius of 
the nation liberated itself from the 
oppressive influence which academic 
learning or scientific ideas have 
frequently exerted in other litera- 
tures. On the other side, science 
and criticism were for a consider- 
able period throv>n upon their 
own resources, which led to much 
original work of the highest order, 
but also to a deterioration of style 
and a greater estrangement from 
polite literature than has been 
the case either in this country 
or in France. To mention, how- 
^J.^^\ ®°® instance in which the 
Ciottingen school made a lasting 
impression on German literature, 
we need only refer to J. H. Voss, 
who, much influenced by Heyne's 
teaching, betook himself to the 
translation of Homer. His work 

VOL. in. 

has become a classic, much more 
than translations in any other 
country, and has domiciled the hexa- 
meter as a form of poetic diction 
in Germany. Voss's ' Luise ' and 
Goethe's ' Hermann and Dorothea ' 
are other examples. 

1 Founded 1777 by Boie. The 
term " Hain " — the forest, copse, or 
grove— plays a great part in Ger- 
man mythology, and in the Ger- 
manising school, of which Klopstock 
in the later part of his life became 
a centre. This term, as expressive 
of the religious and poetical culu of 
the Ancient Teutons, was opposed 
to Parnassus as the home of the 
Greek Muses, and was chosen as the 
name of the school of German 
poetry which originally exalted 
Klopstock and opposed the Franco- 
classical style represented by Wie- 
land. On the occasion of their 
early gatherings they decorated 
Klopstock's portrait and works 
with laurels, while they burnt and 
otherwise defaced the writings of 






an instru- 
ment of 

education. For it was mainly under influences coming 
from Gottingen that a change in the higher education of 
Germany took place. This consisted in taking the 
leadership in the learned schools out of the hands of 
theological and placing it in the hands of classical 
teachers. Under the enlightened guidance of these the 
German gymnasium attained its great influence, which 
has lasted' for nearly a century. The mental discipline 
and intellectual atmosphere at these schools during that 
period was really owing to the workings of the critical 
spirit in the wider sense of the word ; of free inquiry, 
hased upon methodical study : it took the place of the 
theological spirit, which had ruled before but has had in 
the end largely to give way to the ruling of the scien- 
tific spirit in the narrower sense of the word that is 
synonymous with the term exact or mathematical.^ 

1 All this is brought out very 
clearly in Paulsen's work men- 
tioned above (p. 116 note). As it 
deals mainly with the teaching m 
the learned schools, it casts only 
side glances at literary criticism on 
the one side and theological on the 
other. Those who wish to con- 
vince themselves at first hand of 
the part that criticism has played 
in German thought and literature, 
and how, for the greater part of 
the century, it ruled supreme at 
the German Universities, need only 
refer to the histories of the diflferent 
sciences published by the Munich 
Academy (1864, onward). Note 
especially the volumes by Dorner, 
Protestant Theology ; Bursian, 
Classical Philology ; Benfey, Com- 
parative Philology; Wegele, His- 
toriography ; Roscher, Economics ; 
Bluntschli, Staatswissenschaft ; Zel- 
ler, Philosophy. Lotze's volume 
on the 'History of Aesthetics in 
Germany' is a unique example in 

the whole series of a diflferent treat- 
ment of an important subject, in- 
asmuch as little attention is given 
to the influence of criticism, and 
much more to the constructive 
ideas which made themselves felt 
in that field of inquiry. 

Another publication to which I 
am much indebted, and which, 
though not professedly a history of 
the critical movement of thought, 
yet leaves the impression of its 
supremacy on the mind of the 
reader, is the history of the German 
Universities written for the Ex- 
hibition at Chicago ('Die Deutschen 
Universitaten,' 2 vols., 1893), and 
edited by Prof. W. Lexis. It 
contains a valuable general Intro- 
duction by Paulsen. The different 
subjects are treated in the order of 
the diflferent Faculties of the Ger- 
man Universities, under a large 
number of headings, by leading 
representatives in each depart- 

The necessity of becoming an educational instrument 
had a twofold influence upon the development of criticism 
in the wider sense of the word. Criticism had to afford 
a mental discipline to the learner, and it had to become 
communicable and teachable. With these objects in 
view, it became specialised and more or less reduced 
to forms and methods. In the course of time it also 
became more and more evident that criticism could 
be carried on from two entirely different points of 
view. These were not clearly separated by the earlier 
representatives of the Higher Criticism. In dealing 
with mental phenomena, such as the literatures and 
culture of the past, and with opinions and bodies of 
doctrine which have been handed down, we can pass 
judgment upon them either from the purely philosophi- 
cal or from the historical point of view. The first 
point of view implies the existence of definite standards 
aud clear principles ; the latter leads us to the great 
problem of historical genesis. In the first instance we 
refer the subject we are interested in to standards and 
principles which we must either assume or demonstrate ; 
in the latter case we connect the object of our study 
historically with its antecedents and surroundings in 
time and place. Considerations of both kinds were 
before the minds of all the great critics in ancient and 
modern times ; but they were not clearly separated, 
they were introduced promiscuously. It is one of the 
most marked characteristics of the learned literature of 
the nineteenth century, especially in Germany, that in 
the course of its development the fundamental difference 
of historical and philosophical criticism has been brought 

of philoso- 
phical and 




out Accordingly, we find in all the different fields into 
which the stimulating, and frequently destructive, waters 
of criticism have flowed, a growing differentiation of 
the historical and the philosophical points of view. In 
theology, and what has more recently been called the 
science of religion, we have the historical school and the 
philosophical school. The first tries to find its sanction, 
the justification of its doctrines, in their historical origins ; 
the latter looks for their philosophical meaning and 
value In the study of law, termed in Germany juris- 
prudence, we have early in the century the opposition 
of the historical school founded by Savigny to the 
older philosophical school represented by Thibaut. 

1 Nowhere has the critical spirit ! 
in its quest for leading principles 
of research or for the origin and , 
genesis of existing doctrines been , 
Tnore evident in Germany than in 
the older science of jurisprudence I 
and the more modern science ot 
sociology. To the latter, as a crea- 
tion of European thought during 
the nineteenth century, I shall have 
special opportunity to refer in a 
subsequent chapter; the former 
may be mentioned here as a strik- 
ing example of the working of the 
critical spirit, exhibiting an enor- 
mous amount of learning little 
known in this country, though not 
wanting in dramatic incidents. 
Among the latter I may mention a 
controversy which began in the early 
years, and reached something like 
i conclusion at the end of the cen- 
tury The beginning is connected 
with the celebrated names of 
Thibaut (1772-1840) and Savigny 
(1779-1861); the end with the 
completion and introduction of 
the German Civil Code (1888). 
Thibaut belonged, as one of the 
latest representatives, to the school 

of legal studies of which Samuel 
Puffendorf, of European renown, is 
considered the founder. It aimed 
at establishing the so-called " Na- 
turrecht" or Natural Law, ''the 
principles of which were taken to 
be a measure for the value of the 
existing Roman Law " (E. Eck, in 
Lexis, loc. cit, p. 301). "When, 
after the conclusion of the vNar 
of Liberation and of the French 
supremacy, a feeling of German 
unity was kindled, many, and among 
them not the least patriotic, saw 
in the estabUshment of a German 
national code of law a desirable 
object, and one which was at the 
time also attainable. This move- 
ment found its most prominent 
spokesman in the Heidelberg pro- 
fessor of Roman Law, Thibaut, who 
gave it emphatic and eloquent ex- 
pression in his pamphlet on 'The 
Necessity of a General Civil Code 
for Germany ' (1814). He was op- 
1 posed by no less an authority than 
F. C. von Savigny, who in his 
treatise 'On the Task of our Age 
for Legislation and Jurisprudence 
furnished the programme of the 


In economics, we have the great historical school, of 
which Eoscher may be considered the foremost repre- 
sentative, and the earlier dogmatic school, which dates 
back to the great influence of Adam Smith. In the 
many and far-reaching studies which deal with public or 
private ethics or the problems of the state and govern- 
ment,^ we have the two opposite tendencies, seeking for 

historical school" (E. Strohal, in 
Lexis, loc. cit, p. 327). In it he 
successfully opposed the idea of 
such a codification, and maintained 
that the most " pressing task con- 
sisted rather in the historical under- 
standing of the ruling jurisdiction. " 
His position has been criticised as 
too supremely academic and un- 
sympathetic towards the practical 
demands of the age. Nevertheless 
it remained victorious for a long 
time in scientific circles, though 
practically of little effect, seeing 
that even the "Code Civil," which 
Napoleon had forcibly thrust upon 
a large district in Western Ger- 
many, remained in popular force 
and favour. On the other side, 
the programme of Thibaut was re- 
vived when, on the 22nd June 1874, 
the German Imperial Diet charged 
a commission of eminent jurists 
with the drafting of a civil code. 
The first outcome of this was 
submitted to the public in the 
year 1888, and has since, after 
being subjected to elaborate criti- 
cism and emendation, passed into 

^ I wish to remind my readers 
that I am dealing with the diffusion 
of the critical spirit, and am not 
attempting even a mere sketch of 
the history of Higher Criticism 
in Germany. Such would have to 
take special note of a large cluster 
of studies peculiar to the German 
universities, but which are only 
very incompletely, if at all, culti- 
vated in the learned schools of 

France and England. It is not only 
that all German universities con- 
tain a legal faculty ; such existed 
in early times already in the French 
university system of the Middle 
Ages, and has from this likewise been 
transferred to the Scottish universi- 
ties. The German universities con- 
tain, in addition, special faculties 
and curricula for the study of what 
are termed "Cameralia," the word 
camera, or chamber, being used in 
the sense in which it has survived 
in such terms as " Chamber of 
Deputies," " Chamber of Parlia- 
ment," " Chamber of Commerce," 
&c. Students of Cameralia are 
such as prepare specially for the 
lower and higher positions in the 
administration. They are incor- 
porated in the ever-widening cir- 
cumference of the philosophical 
faculty, or they constitute, as at 
Strassburg, Wiirzburg, Munich, and 
Tubingen, separate faculties, which 
have incorporated in various ways 
such of the legal branches as are of 
special importance for administra- 
tive purposes (see Lexis, Zoc. cit., vol, 
i. p. 279, &c. ) Their studies, termed 
in German "Staatswissenschaften," 
approach on the one side branches 
of legal study such as " Staatsrecht," 
and on the other side the statis- 
tical sciences, which in the course 
of the nineteenth century have be- 
come more and more mathematical. 
With such a very definite concep- 
tion of the training which the lower 
and higher ofl&cers and servants of 
the State require, it is interesting 





historical or psychological origins and sources on the one 
side, for philosophical or actual justification on the other. 
In general it may be said that the interest has gradually 
moved away from the philosophical or purely theoretical 
to the historical treatment in all these and many other 
departments. This tendency has been very much strength- 
ened, not only from outside by the view which has been 
independently established in the natural sciences under the 
influence of Darwin, but also from inside, i.e., in the very 
heart of the learned schools themselves, upon which the 
spirit of the Hegelian philosophy, with its motto " that 
everything real is reasonable," has consciously or uncon- 
32 sciously exerted an enormous influence. This contrast 
InrS^llt between what we may call the historical and the philo- 
LhS«-^' sophical treatment has also existed in that great cluster 
of studies, in that stupendous edifice of learning which the 
genius of the German nation has erected in the course of 
the nineteenth century— classical philology. Only here 
the opposition to the broad historical treatment of 
classical studies which emanated from Gottingen has not 
been what we can term philosophical, but chose rather 
for its foundation the systematic and methodical study of 
the two classical languages. It is, however, interesting to 
note that the greatest exponent of this the most influ- 
ential of classical schools abroad, Gottfried Hermann of 


to note that a profession which deals 
practically with such matters has 
not received as yet any indepen- 
dent recognition or standing in Ger- 
many. I refer to what the more 
practical tendencies of this country 
have created as the special profes- 
sion of accountants and auditors. 
The duties and qualifications of this 

specifically British body of profes- 
sional men are still difficult to 
explain to foreigners. I believe 
that in most cases the duties of 
the auditor are performed in Ger- 
many by membei-s of the legal pro- 
fession, who have all a university 


Leipzig (1772-1848), got his philosophical training in 

the school of Kant. 

From what was said in the introduction to this 
portion of the history of thought, on the importance of 
language in the study of philosophical problems, it will 
be seen that the position taken up by the great repre- 
sentatives of what has been called " Sprachphilologie " 
was quite natural and consistent. Language itself, 
notably the highly developed languages of classical 
antiquity, forms a firm basis from which we can pene- 
trate into the meaning and ideas of ancient civilisation 
in its most perfect examples. In the two classical 
languages, the mental achievements of two great ages, 
upon which all modern civilisation is grafted, have found 
a definite expression. The study of these languages, of 
the literatures of Greece and Eome, of the words, flexions, 
syntax, and metrical forms which they contain and 
exhibit, thus affords the best introduction to the study 
of antiquity. The emendation of corrupt texts, con- 
jectures as to doubtful readings, rehabilitation of missing 
passages, all that is usually comprised in the term 
text-criticism, furnishes an enormous field for research, 
and gives ample opportunity for the exercise of ingenuity 
and the application of learning. It marks a well-defined 
object, upon which both master and pupil can direct 
their attention, and, under favourable circumstances, 
assist each other. No subject can form a better oppor- 
tunity for the work of education and training in the 
higher sense of the word. The exercises are concen- 
trated upon an object which is sufficiently defined and 
compact to counteract vagueness, and yet sufficiently 



flexible to lead to a variety of emendations and inter- 
pretations, forming a very suitable opportunity for 
oral discussion and combined work.^ This was recog- 

1 " On a philosophical founda- 
tion Hermann appears to us as 
the (pi\6\oyos kut^ f|ox^»'» ^ * 
philologist in the real sense of the 
word, i.e., as the propounder of the 
\6yo5 in its twofold and inseparable 
nature, ratio and oratio, thought 
and word in one ; the former re- 
presenting the inner, the latter 
the outer side of the activity 
which constitutes the essence of 
Mind. A thought becomes fully 
apparent only when it is spoken ; 
the word without the full content 
of the thought is an empty sound. 
From this peculiarity of Hermann's 
nature, combined with his absolute 
truthfulness, there follows with 
psychological necessity his indiffer- 
ence towards everything that can- 
not be clearly thought and spoken, 
. . . and even out of this peculiarity 
there sprang with the same neces- 
sity the comprehensive conception 
which Hermann had of his science, 
and which he followed throughout. 
Language is to him the highest 
artistic production of the human 
mind ; hence it appears, in spite 
of its natural origin, frequently 
as the result of conscious incisive 
thought. Thus voice and language 
are the picture of mind and 
life. Language exists, therefore, 
not only to be empirically used, but 
also to be rationally understood ; it 
has its definite laws, which it is 
the object of science to discover in 
general and in detail. In this way 
Hermann conceived of language at 
a time when there could yet be no 
mention of a general science of 
language. The languages of the 
two civilised peoples of antiquity 
— foremost the language of the 
Greeks — are as such alone worthy 
of study, but still more so as the 
means of giving us an under- 

standing of the greatest masters 
who have ever lived, for their 
written monuments are the greatest 
works of art which we possess ; and 
they are, further, likewise the best 
— indeed, the only means by which 
we can understand also the other 
monuments ; they alone speak to us ; 
other monuments without them re- 
main to us dumb. Thus the correct 
understanding and the thorough- 
going interpretation of the ancient 
authors is the main task of philo- 
logy ; criticism and exegesis are 
indissolubly united. ... In this 
sense also Hermann is the model of 
the genuine philologist." — ('Gott- 
fried Hermann,' by H. Koechly 
(1874), p. 13, &c.) In the same 
sense a much later writer says : 
"There still remains what the 
ninete2nth century, especially also 
in Germany, has considered to be 
the very kernel of philology— criti- 
cism and interpretation of authors. 
To this also has reference the 
much-lauded philological method, 
which came to be appraised as 
being the best preparation for 
all the mental sciences, just as 
formerly Latin used to be con- 
sidered in the schools. . . . The 
belief in the possession of a method 
as an ever-ready sorcerer's wand 
was the most precious gift that 
the numerous pupils of Ritschl re- 
ceived from this teacher, whose fas- 
cinating personal activity can only 
be compared with that of Her- 
mann. He who reads, e.g. , Ritschl's 
*Parerga' and Haupt's earliest 
' Berlin Programmes ' has indeed 
the sense of a quite peculiar con- 
fidence through a dialectic which 
certainly produces at times quite 
insignificant results ; at times also 
such as have since been found to be 
erroneous. These writings will as 


nised by the great teachers of text-criticism in Germany, 
who, following the example of Eichard Bentley, intro- 
duced his methods into their philological seminaries or 
training schools. These reached their highest develop- ^^.^.33.^ ^ 
ment and most perfect organisation first under Hermann, ^^^^^^^ 
and then under the greatest among his independent 
followers, Friedrich Eitschl (1806-1877). The philo- 
logical seminary of the latter has become a model for 
the highest form of university instruction. 

And yet it cannot be denied that in the larger move- 
ment of thought this criticism of texts, with all its 
elaborate and ingenious machinery, forms only a tem- 
porary resting-place. In this respect we can compare it 
to the temporary stages which in scientific thought have 
furnished firm foundations for great scientific develop- 
ments. As such we had to regard, for instance, the 
atomic theory, the older undulatory theory of light, or the 
dynamical theory of gases. None of these theories, any 
more than the theory of gravitation, can be regarded as 
ultimate foundations, though they for a long time fur- 
nished convenient, well-defined, and practically useful 
standing-ground for research, and will continue to do so 
for teaching purposes, even after their merely prehminary 
character has become scientifically recognised. 

In opposition to the grammatical and textual studies 
which formed the main part of Gottfried Hermann's 
labours, we have in Gottingen the development of 
Gessner's and Heyne's seminary under the influence of 

little become antiquated as Bent- 
ley's dissertation on the * Letters 
of Phalaris' or Lessing's 'Anti- 
quarian Letters,' and will continue 

to be the student's introduction to 
method" (see Wilamowitz - Moel- 
lendorff, in Lexis, loc. cit, vol. i. 
p. 471). 



F. A. AVolf (1759-1824), who was the first to inscribe 
himself as a student of philology, and who was also the 
first to define philology as the Science of Antiquity. 
Through him classical and archaeological studies were 
transported from the University of Gottingen into the 
Prussian state. Wolf's greatest activity, through which 
he created an era in the historical and classical studies 
of Germany, belonged to the years 1783-1806, at the 
34. University of Halle. He explained his ideas on the 
psdica'ims encyclopedic treatment of the studies of antiquity ni 
^^i^-"^" an essay (1807) which was dedicated to Goethe. He 
saw in the art and culture of the two classical 
nations the grasp and firm hold which they had 
attained of the highest aims of humanity, and in the 
communication of this conception to the younger genera- 
tion the means of elevating them above the narrow 
arena of ordinary life and petty circumstance. Wolf 
lived in intimate friendship with Goethe and Schiller 
and inspired Wilhelm von Humboldt, through and in 
whom the study of language and literature was brought 
into immediate contact with the objects of government, 
administration, and higher education. It was largely 
through Wolf's influence that the idea of founding the 
University of Berlin matured in the mind of his great 
friend. When in the year 1806 the University of Halle 
was closed owing to the Napoleonic occupation, the 
plan of a University in Berlin was formed ; it offered 
to Wolf as well as to many others among the greatest 
teachers of Germany a new sphere of activity. As 
Kitschl represents the highest development of that hne 
of activity and classical learning which was initiated 



by G. Hermann, so the programme sketched by Wolf 
was elaborated by his pupils and followers ; but it is 
significant that, whereas the former school, which was 
characterised by concentration and logical acumen, found 
a centre and its classical expression in the one person of 
Friedrich Eitschl, the school of Wolf, which was char- 
acterised rather by breadth than exactitude of view, 
spread out into a number of branches represented by 
men of very varying ability and interests, among whom 
in the first generation may be mentioned Niebuhr, 
Bockh, Welcker, Otfried Mliller. The two schools 
represented by Hermann in Leipzig on one side, by 
Wolf and Bockh in Berlin on the other, carried on 
for some time the celebrated feud of the " Sprach- 
philologen " V. the " Sachphilologen," but it is gratifying p^^^^ 
to know that the two great masters themselves, Hermann p^^ioiogen. 
and Bockh, who, according to the statement of the latter, 
stood in the remarkable relation " of a friendship main- 
tained by mutual recriminations," ended their lives with 
the expression of mutual appreciation and personal 


The critical spirit reached its highest development in 
the hands of representatives who, like Hermann and 
Eitschl, knew how to circumscribe the field of their 
research, how to define their object, and how to concen- 
trate their attention and ingenuity. Most of the texts 
of the classical authors were at that time in a state of 
great corruption and mutilation. The work of editing 
and restoring these neglected relics, the study of the 
remains of antique life, the work of extricating and 
reviving, the collation of manuscripts, the deciphering 




of inscriptions, formed a large and fairly well-defined 
task which occupied the many pupils of Hermann and 
Ritschl for the greater part of the century.' A large 
portion of this work could be carried on by those whose 
main duty was to devote themselves to higher instruction 
at schools and universities. As such it had a great and 
elevating influence upon the teaching profession, which 
no one knew better how to exert, recommend, and 

1 Many striking incidents might 
be quoted ; one will suffice to show 
the zeal with which these studies 
were carried on and the dramatic 
interest which attached to purely 
philological work such as the 
restoration of ancient texts. Her- 
mann had, in an open letter ad- 
dressed to Ritschl in 1837, 
expressed his doubts as to the 
principles, differing from those of 
Bentley, wliich had been employed 
in an edition of one of the Plays of 
Plautus. Ritschl had in the mean- 
time undertaken the examination 
and collation of the Plautine 
palimpsest which had been recently 
discovered by Cardinal Mai in the 
Ambrosian Library of Milan. 
These labours had convinced 
Ritschl of the correctness of Her- 
mann's views, which amounted 
almost to a divination. " I still 
remember," says Koechly {loc. cit., 
p. 46). "the immense impression 
which' Ritschl's celebrated letter 
to Hermann on the Ambrosian 
codex produced upon us students. 
Written in 1837 in Milan, the 
letter appeared in August in the 
same periodical ('Zeitschrift fur 
Alterthumswissenschaf t *). A few 
months before this the Professor- 
elect of Archaeology, Adolf Becker, 
had started his course in the 
customary manner with a public 
disputation; ... the dissertation 
which he defended . . . was 
mainly intended to uphold the 

traditional Plautine text against 
the ingenious audacity of Her- 
mann's metrics and its conse- 
quences. It was natural that the 
old teacher — his official opponent— 
and the new professor should hit 
each other pretty hard; whereby 
the contest ultimately resulted in 
the establishment of a difiference in 
principles. . . . Hermann adhered 
to the principles and conclusions 
of his metrical doctrine, Becker 
appealed to the traditional text of 
Plautus in the Palatine manu- 
scripts which, on the whole, 
appeared to him to be correct. 
We had followed the contest with 
the greatest attention, with eager- 
ness we expected the decision of 
Ritschl, who at that moment was 
occupied in Milan with the thor- 
ough deciphering of the Ambrosian 
text. And the decision arrived; 
it was that letter which did honour 
as much to the writer as to the 
receiver, that letter in which 
Ritschl, from the correcter tradi- 
tion of the Ambrosian text, 
proved that Hermann's ingenious 
divination, in spite of apparent 
arbitrariness and audacity, had 
nevertheless hit upon the right 
thing,— that it had, in short, in 
spite of all rational and methodical 
calculation, celebrated a splendid 
triumph. What joy on our side, 
what embarrassed silence on the 


organise than Friedrich Kitschl himself. Under this in- 
fluence not only did the few remaining classical schools in 
Thuringia and Saxony become the models upon which 
secondary education in the middle and south of Germany 
was reformed, but the exclusive character of these older 
schools was removed ^ and a universal system of educa- 

1 Among these the three most 
celebrated and influential were 
Pforta, Meissen, and Grimma. 
Many of the leaders of the sciences 
of antiquity and history had been 
themselves alumni of these cele- 
brated high schools, among them 
notably Hermann himself and his 
pupil Fr. Thiersch. The latter 
undertook the reform of the high 
school system in Bavaria, and 
published interesting polemical 
records on this important side of 
his own activity. In these he 
came into conflict with the less 
exclusively classical system which 
was being introduced from Berlin 
in the high schools of Prussia and 
North Germany. The leader of 
this movement, himself in later 
years largely dependent upon 
Ritschl's advice, was Johannes 
Schulze (1786-1869), who in 1818 
undertook the leadership of higher 
instruction in the Prussian 
Ministry under Altenstein, whose 
right hand in educational matters 
he remained up to the year 1840. 
He had himself studied both theo- 
log\' and philology, had been at 
Halle a member of F. A. Wolf's 
seminary, and an enthusiastic 
hearer of Schleiermacher's lectures. 
His experience was very wide and 
varied. For some time a teacher 
himself, as well as a preacher, he 
possessed to the end of his days 
an almost "convulsive liveliness" 
and the capacity of enthusiasm 
for things and persons. After 
living in the literary circles at 
Weimar he came, when called to 

Berlin, under the influence of 
Hegel, whose lectures he attended 
together with other privy coun- 
cillors, considering that for educa- 
tional purposes a comprehensive 
study of philosophy in its latest 
system was most suitable. "To 
this end," he says, "I attended, 
from 1819 to 1821, during two 
evening hours daily, all Hegel's 
lectures on Encyclopaedia, Logic, 
Psychology, Philosophy of Law, 
History of Philosophy, Philosophy 
of Nature, Philosophy of Art, 
History, and Religion, and did not 
shirk the trouble to impress upon 
myself the contents of all these 
lectures in carefully elaborated 
lecture notes. Hegel used to visit 
me after he lectured, and then, or 
in the course of a ramble, to enter 
into my questions." And Schulze 
specially remarks that Hegel was 
to him at all times a faithful, wise, 
and unselfish counsellor in matters 
of higher instruction. See for 
further detail and quotations from 
an enormous literature dealing 
with the reform of the high 
schools in Germany, Paulsen's 
'History' {ante, p. 116 note), 2nd 
ed., Book 5. According to Paul- 
sen, the Prussian system under 
Schulze was more liberal in facili- 
tating the entrance into the 
curricula of the high schools of 
other than purely classical studies 
such as Modern Languages, Mathe- 
matics, and Natural Sciences. 
These schools thus formed a 
transition to the more modern 



tion introduced for all those whose schooHng extended 
beyond their thirteenth or fourteenth year. One of its 
xnost important results is to be found in the complete 
destruction of that difference of class which clung to 
the few older and celebrated classical schools. These 
resembled in some ways the public schools of England, 
through which class distinctions are still intentionally 
or unintentionally upheld.^ 

For the moment this subject is for us only of 
collateral importance, our present object being to follow 
the critical spirit in its various developments. That, 
applied to the study of the classical authors, it led to 
the establishment of a rigid method and a strict 
discipUne was one of its chief recommendations in the 
eyes of educationalists. This brought about its wide- 
spread introduction in the learned schools. In the 
year 1872, thirty - eight headmasters and thirty -six 
professors were counted as belonging to the school 
of Pdtschl.^ But at that time the critical spirit 



1 The difference of class which in 
England is expressed by the term 
higher and middle class was, 
through the teaching at the older 
Furstenschulen of Saxony, exhib- 
ited rather in the distinction be- 
tween classical and non-classical edu- 
cation ; the absence of a thorough 
knowledge of Latin in reading, 
writing, and poetical composition 
being considered by many as 
equivalent to an absence of real 
culture. This standard shut out 
not onlv the uneducated, the 
industrial, and the tradesman, but 
also those who possessed merely 
literary attainments such as polite 
learning and proficiency in modern 

2' Of Ritschl 8 enormous activity 

and extraordinary personal influ- 
ence both at Bonn and later in 
Leipzig, a full account is given in 
Otto Ribbeck's 'Life of Ritschl 
(2 vols., 1879-1881; see especially 
vol. ii. pp. 42, 299, 408, &c., als.) 
the long list of eminent classical 
scholars who were trained in 
Ritschl's seminary, p. 560, &c.) A 
very interesting and spirited 
picture of Ritschl's personality and 
influence during the heyday of his 
career is to be found in the Bio- 
graphy of Fr. Nietzsche by his 
sister E. Forster-Nietzsche (3 vols., 
1895-1904). It is, however, in- 
teresting to note that Nietzsche, 
in spite of his admiration for 
Ritschl, had some misgivings that 
the value of the method might 


did not rule supreme ; by its greatest representatives, 
and even by those who took the extreme view and 
opposed the more liberal and vaguer conceptions which 
grew up in the school of Wolf, criticism was regarded 
as a means to an end, namely, the reconstruction of 
the culture of classical antiquity or, in more modest 
phrase, of the texts and works of the classical authors. 
Something positive was to be done, something definite 
was to be attained. The result was that critical labours 
were very frequently cut short and reconstructions 
attempted long before the necessary material had been 
collected or the sifting process carried far enough. The 
preliminary nature of their constructions was probably 
not always clear to the minds even of such men as 
Bentley when he wrote his letters on Phalaris, of 
Niebuhr in his fanciful reconstruction of early Eoman 
history, or of Eitschl in his rehabilitation of archaic 
Latin and the text of Plautus. What are now looked 
upon as merely brilliant examples of method, were to 
their authors the very aim and object of their studies, 
and not merely tentative results of subjective criticism 
and ingenuity.^ At a much later date, when the histori- 

be overestimated, and the drift 
given through it to philology one- 
sided (see vol. i. p. 282, &c.) His 
manuscript notes of the year 1 868, 
there quoted, close with the follow- 
ing sentence : " Where may the 
fructifying power of philology lie 
so that we may become somewhat 
reconciled with her and admit that 
out of all this immense exertion 
some germs have sprung up ? 
Wherever these studies touch 
upon something of general human 
interest. Thus her fairest triumph 
is comparative linguistic with its 

philosophical perspective." This is 
hardly spoken in the spirit of 
Ritschl himself, 

^ See specially on this point what 
Wilamowitz says in Lexis, loc. ciL, 
vol. ii. p. 472, &c. 

The great Niebuhr himself, 
whose celebrated reconstruction of 
earlier Roman History made, 
especially in this country, so 
great a sensation, but has hardly 
stood the test of subsequent 
research (see Wilamowitz, loc. 
ciL, p. 464, also Wachsmuth, 
'Einleitung in das Studium der 



cal spirit had spread over other fields of research, we 
find a similar stimulating audacity in the direction of 
premature and problematical constructions. A notable 
example is furnished soon after the Darwinian points of 
view had gained favour, in such works, e.g., as Haeckel's 
* Generelle Morphologic ' (see swpra, vol. ii. p. 347, s. 99). 
If we now ask the question : What was it that stood in 
the way of the unimpeded march of the critical spirit, 
what was it that checked and tempered it in its greatest 
exponents, we may say that it was the influence of those 
high ideals which lived in the minds of the great heroes 
of "the classical literature of Germany and which, through 
their original creations, influenced even those more 
methodical searchers and thinkers who were most 
inclined to draw a sharp distinction between the highest 
fruits of academic method and erudition on the one 
side and the dilettante creations of the purely literary 

crenius on the other.^ 

Alten Geschichte; 1895, p. 29), 
had stated already, in the preface 
to the first edition of his Roman 
History (1811), that criticism 
alone was not sufficient. We 
must try to separate fiction from 
falsification, and strain our gaze 
so as to recognise the lineaments of 
truth liberated from those retouch- 
ings. The removal of the fabul- 
ous, the destruction of what is de- 
ceiving, may satisfy the critic ; he 
only desires to expose a deceptive 
story. . . • The historian, how- 
ever, requires something positive ; 
he must discover at least some 
probable connection and put a 
more plausible narrative in the 
place of that which he has had to 
sacrifice to his conviction " (quoted 
by Wachsmuth, loc. cit. , p. 28). 
1 See for instance what Niebuhr 

himself says, in the year 1826, 
reviewing his early labours after 
fifteen years (Pref., p. ix) :— 

" Towards the beginning of the 
present century a new epoch dawned 
for our nation. Superficiality no- 
where gave satisfaction : empty 
words, half understood, had no 
longer any currency : but neither 
did mere destruction, in which the 
past age had indulged, satisfy any 
longer : we strove for definiteness 
and positive insight, as our 
ancestors did ; but the latter had 
to be true instead of illusory, like 
that which had been destroyed. 
We now possessed a literature 
worthy of our nation and language ; 
we had Lessing and Goethe ; and 
this literature comprised, what no 
other literature had done, a large 
portion of that of the Greeks and 


We may compare the philological seminary of Heyne se. 
and Wolf, of Hermann and Eitschl, in the great influence SeWg com- 
which it had upon all humanistic studies, with the cor- ^'^^'^* 
responding influence which the chemical laboratory of 
Liebig at Giessen had upon scientific research. In many 
ways also the personal influence and activity of Eitschl 
resembled that of Liebig; both were masterful person- 
alities ; sovereign minds, capable and desirous of exerting 
a commanding influence ; both were masters of method, 
which they perfected if, they did not create it ; both 
were led by ideal aims and opened out large fields of 
research, which required the co-operation of many 
talented pupils whom they inspired ; both had also an 
eye for the practical application of their theoretical 
ideas : Liebig showed this through the emphasis he laid 
upon the economic value of the researches which he led, 
Pdtschl in the reform which the instruction at the uni- 
versities underwent through the labours of his pupils 
and through his talent of organisation which he also 
manifested in various other directions; both also showed 
unmistakably an intolerance of mediocre work, an im- 
patience with mercenary labours and the ^avav^ia of 
the scientific or literary tradesman. Their influence 
upon the highest university training in Germany cannot 
be overestimated, but it was also unique and cannot be 

Romans, not in the way of 
imitation but as a second creation. 
l^V this Germany is indebted to 
Voss, whom 'the grandson's child 
and grandchild ' must praise as a 
benefactor : from whom starts a 
Dew era for the understanding of 
antiquity ; for he knew how to 
discover in the classical authors 
themselves what they took for 


granted, such as their notions of 
their gods and the earth, their life 
and household ; he understood and 
interpreted Homer and Virgil as if 
they were distant contemporaries 
separated from us only in space. 
His example acted on many, on me 
from early childhood, as indeed did 
also the personal encouragement of 
this paternal guest." 



repeated. It was a product of the idealism of the age, 
and it led itself to developments which superseded it. 
The educational work commenced by Liebig has been 
used more and more for commercial and industrial 
purposes. We shall now see what was the fate of the 
critical methods perfected and used with signal success 
by Kitschl. It has been truly said that the refined 
dialectic which is to be found, inter alia, in Ritschl's 
Parerga, is not a monopoly of classical philology; 
Lachmann, e.g., who handled this art in a masterly 
manner, edited not only the works of Lucretius but also 
old German manuscripts, as well as the works of Lessmg ; 
in fact " every editor must handle this method whatever 
be the' language of his text. Although therefore the 
ancient texts make peculiarly complicated demands upon 
the editor, philology, if confined to criticism of texts, 
ceases to be necessarily tied to classical antiquity. The 
view that it should be so is untenable though historically 
37 intelligible."! Accordingly the methods of Hermann 
JflTtfoSs and Ritschl, which were matured whilst dealing with 
rrjS; classical texts, have been introduced into all the modern 
l^So^?' branches of philology, notably at the German universities. 
We have there Germanic, English, Eomance, Oriental, 
Indian, and other philologies.^ The rapid widening of 

of Gottiugen played in these studies, 
which belong almost exclusively 
to the nineteenth century : also 
the connection through Gottingen 
teachers, notably through Heyne, 
with English literature is well 
brought out. See especially Pro- 
fessor Brandl's report on " English 
Philology at the German Univer- 

1 Wilamowitz, loc. cit. , p. 472. 

'^ A very interesting and com- 
prehensive account of the gradual 
growth of these otlver philologies, 
of the diffusion of criticism over 
the whole study of languages, 
literature, and antiquities all over 
the globe, will be found in the 
second volume of Lexis, pp. 475-549. 
There the reader will also find what 
an important part the University 


the circle of studies — which Eitschl and others viewed 
not without apprehension that the method might suffer 
— was assisted by the much larger circle of interests 
which from the beginning characterised the programme 
of F. A. Wolf. The multitude of problems involved 
in the vast study of antiquity, which embraced archc^- 
ology, history of ancient art, paleography, the study 
of ancient commerce, industry, and administration, &c., 
counteracted in many instances that concentration of 
talent and ingenuity upon which the older criticism 
of texts prided itself so much. The enormous material 
had a tendency to lead to that kind of erudition which 
was represented in earlier ages by the great French 
school of philologists of which Joseph Justus Scaliger 
(1540-1609) was considered the most prominent 
representative, but it also encouraged premature 
generalisations with the legitimate desire to grasp the 
vast material and to bring some kind of unity into 
studies which would otherwise have fallen asunder. A 
similar influence came from an entirely different quarter, 
mainly through the growth of comparative philology. 
This can be said to take its beginning with the introduc- 
tion of the study of Sanscrit. It is marked by the 
appearance, in the year 1816, of F. Bopp's work, 'On 
the System of Conjugation of Sanscrit compared with 
that of the Greek, Latin, Persian, and Germanic 
Languages.' In the year 1819 Jacob Grimm published 
at Gottingen the first part of his German Grammar. 
A. F. Pott's etymological researches followed in 1833, 
Benfey's Grecian Eoot-lexicon in 1839. But the first 
to utilise these researches for the purposes of class- 


Bopp and 



ical philology and to establish a connection between 
the latter and comparative philology was Georg Curtius 
(18'>0-85). whose influence as teacher equalled that 
of the great classical masters, and whose Greek Grammar 
has become a standard educational work in this country 

as well as abroad. 

The philological seminary with its characteristic 
rhSTca. feature of textual and higher criticism was m the 
'*"""■ course of the century imitated by suuilar institutions 
in other departments of learning. Such were the 
historical studies, in the narrower sense of the word, 
within which the academic influence, but also the 
exclusiveness, of Georg Waitz is prominent. In juris- 
prudence, «., in the law faculty, these seminaries 
with their exegetical exercises were introduced m the 
middle of the century, first at Halle ; they exist now at 
nearly all the German universities. In the departments 
which deal with economics, statistics, and administration, 
the first seminary was started at the University of Jena 
in 1849. Since that time they have become very 
general. There are also archaeological, philosophical, 
and even art seminaries. The work in these institu- 
tions or training schools is more defined and severe 
in proportion as the subjects they deal with are them- 
selves circumscribed, or as a definite, practical end 
and aim exists for which the pupil is to be tramed. 
Such is the case in the study of law, and m some 
branches of those sciences which in Germany are com- 
prised under the name of " Staatswissenschaften. m 
other departments, such notably as history and philo- 
sophy where neither of these two features is well- 


marked, the introduction of a strict system is more 
difficult. Criticism with its defined methods is there 
limited almost entirely to the study and emendation of 
manuscripts and texts and to interpretation of authors 
and documents, i.e., to an introduction of those exercises 
which form the groundwork in the older philological 
seminaries. In the same degree as it has been 
found necessary to extend the field of research 
beyond the precincts of the universities, the rigid 
application of critical methods has relaxed. In many 
instances the work of specialists and practical experts, 
of explorers and travellers, of untrained amateurs with 
the assistance of large capital, has accumulated, at 
random, such an enormous amount of new material, 
usually out of the reach of the academic teacher, that 
the process, as it were, of digestion, of critical arrange- 
ment and sifting, has hardly begun. In the light of 
these vast and overwhelming discoveries, the results of 
earlier scholars and students who worked in a restricted 
area with small means and scanty material appear 
naturally insignificant and immature. Conclusions 
which they drew with much confidence from narrow 
premises and insufficient data have been disproved; 
whilst conjectures which at one time appeared fantastic 
and were ridiculed by men of the school have un- 
expectedly turned out to be true. All this has tended 
to bring the critical methods, or what is now called 
higher criticism, into some discredit, as a line of research 
which has no finality, and succeeds only in matters 
of detail; or, where larger problems are at stake, only 
by the aid of leading ideas and commanding points 




of view which have themselves outrun criticism, being 
the spontaneous outcome of the inspired and divining 


This has notably been the case in the treatment of 
larger historical subjects, and is probably the reason 
why the historical literature of Germany till within 
recent times cannot be compared with that of France 
40. and of Great Britain. It is only since the time of 
^S^'of'his. Niebuhr, who was followed by Eanke and his school, 
NSbuhr':'' that Germany has produced historians who have had 
great influence outside of Germany: this reputation 
rests not so much and perhaps not mainly upon the 
critical preparation of the material with which they 
dealt, as upon the general aspects from which their 
histories were written. These were not gained ex- 
clusively through critical studies, but were imported, 
as it were, from outside and combined with vast 
erudition, which itself was acquired through academic 
training. To mention only a few examples : Fr. Chr. 
Schlosser (1776-1861) wrote the history of a period, 
the eighteenth century, from a philosophical point of 
view. He was one of the first who, on a large scale, 
showed the connection and mutual influence of politics 
and literature as it characterises the period of enlighten- 
ment, the philosophical century. Schlosser's point of 
view was adopted and enlarged by his disciple G. G. 
Gervinus, who was the first to conceive the idea of 
writing the history of the poetical genius of a nation, 
treating of the same in its spontaneous development and 
its dependence upon external conditions: a conception 
which could only have grown up under the inspiration 


of Lessing, Herder, and the classical literature of the 
beginning of the nineteenth century. The greatest 
example of the fruit of German erudition and philological 
criticism in union with the large philosophical aspects 
which the first third of the century produced were the 
historical works of Leopold von Eanke, beginning with ^^^^4i. ^ ^^ 
his ' History of the Popes ' and continued through his R^'^^^- 
' German History at the Time of the Eeformation ' and 
his 'French and English Histories* of the sixteenth 
and seventeenth centuries. In these works Eanke dealt, 
from a universal point of view, with the great political, 
literary, and religious agencies which were at work in 
the formation of modern Europe. No other historian of 
modern times had shown so much combined erudition 
and critical acumen in handling the enormous volume of 
documentary evidence which became accessible when the 
archives of Europe were for the first time opened. But 
this alone would not — as Eanke himself admitted — 
have sufficed to found and secure his reputation, had it 
not been for the art of historiography which he possessed. 
The artistic side did not suffer, as it did in many other 
German historians, by the weight of material on the one 
side or by abstract philosophical reflections on the other.^ 

^ A great deal has been written 
not only in Germany but also in 
other countries concerning the real 
methods of Niebuhr as well as quite 
recently on the " Ideas"" of Ranke. 
What was in both a result of artistic 
genius and insight has now to be 
dissected and analysed as biolo- 
gists have endeavoured to find 
out and define the principle of 
life by dissecting and analysing 
living organisms. In both cases 
the living principle disappears 

under the hands of the critic, 
as, indeed, it was not produced 
by synthesis. So far as Niebuhr 
is concerned, his views regarding 
early Roman history have been 
criticised and discussed in this 
country — where he produced quite 
as great an impression as in Germany 
—notably by Sir George Cornewall 
Lewis in his ' Enquiry into the Cre- 
dibility of Early Roman History.' 
Among recent German writers we 
find, e.g.i the statement that the 





How little the standpoint and the methods of pure 
criticism are able to deal with larger historical subjects 
is nowhere more visible than if we consider two his- 
torical works which have had a considerable influence 
and reputation outside of Germany; they themselves 
differ from each other greatly in their general character 
and in the historical conception of their authors. These 
two works are Theodor Mommsen's ' Eoman History' 
and Ernst Curtius' 'Greek History.' I will deal first 
with the latter. Ernst Curtius (1814-96) was brought 
up under the influence of that conception of the task of 
philology which had been elaborated in the school of 
F. A. Wolf mainly by Bockh (1785-1867), Welcker 
(1784-1868), and Otfried Muller (1797-1840). The 
life-plan of the latter, to write a comprehensive history 

whole of Niebuhr's conception 
regarding the sources of the Re- 
publican History of Rome "can, 
of course, not really be proved, but 
that it is supported by the analogy 
of German and Italian Chronicles, 
the development of the Florentine 
Chronicles especially serving as au 
example" (Wachsmuth, loc. cit., p. 
30). And Wilamowitz (in Lexis, 
loc. ciL, vol. ii. p. 464) says : 
*' Niebuhr's greatness lay, certainly 
not in his Roman History, which 
he did not continue beyond the age 
about which no real history can be 
written ; it lay rather in this that 
he, for the first time, carried in his 
mind a comprehensive picture of 
the history of the old world, which, 
in spite of all the casualty of re- 
ports preserved or lost, he formed 
for himself out of the large con- 
nections of events and political 
forces." The same writer refers 
also to the overwhelming impression 
which must have been produced by 

his Lectures on Ancient History at 
Bonn, where he exchanged the 
activity of statesmanship and diplo- 
macy for that of a professorial chair. 
But Richard Garnett tells us ('En- 
cyclopaedia Britannica,' 9th ed., p. 
493) that the notes of Niebuhr's 
Lectures on Ancient History and 
Geography "disappointed expecta- 
tion," and " would not of them- 
selves have made a great reputa- 
tion." As to Ranke, I shall, in a 
later chapter, have an opportunity of 
deahng with the school of historio- 
graphy which has arisen in Germany 
in opposition to what is termed 
the school of Ranke ; here it may 
suffice to refer the reader to the 
careful analysis of Ranke's method 
in O. Lorenz's 'Die Geschichts- 
wissenschaft,' vol. ii., 1891 ; alsi. 
the Articles by W. Freytag on 
Ranke's * Conception of History' 
in the * Archiv fur Systematische 
Philosophic,' vol. vi. p. 129, &c. ; 
p. 311, &c. 


of Greece, was, owing to his premature death whilst on 
a visit to that country itself, frustrated, only prelim- 
inary studies on the 'History of Hellenic Tribes and 
Places ' having been published.^ But this plan was to 
some extent carried out in later years by his friend and 
pupil Curtius, who was the first German historian after 
Niebuhr to qualify himself for his task by spending a con- 
siderable time away from the books and lecture-room of 
the professor, on the very scenes where the great events 
which he was narrating had taken place. In this respect 
he may be compared with A. von Humboldt (1769-1859) 
and Carl Kitter (1779-1859), who both in a peculiar 
and original manner did more than any other of their 
contemporaries to widen the horizon of the man of 
science as well as that of the historian." During his 

1 Vol. i., *Orchomenos' (1820), 
vol. ii., ' The Dorians ' (1824)— Eng. 

2 Ernst Curtius occupies a unique 
position, as he was not only a his- 
torian and an archaeologist, but 
belonged to that small number of 
scholars who combine with their 
scholarship a poetical and artistic 
comprehension of the totality of 
the subject they treat. It is re- 
markable that his important de- 
scription of the Morea ('Pelopon- 
nesus,' a historic© - geographical 
description of the Peninsula, 2 
vols., 1851-52), which is considered 
to be his greatest work, is little 
known, having been out of print 
for many years. In it he connects 
himself with writers of an entirely 
different order, such as Georg For- 
ster, A. von Humboldt, and Carl 
Hitter in Germany, in whom the 
descriptive view and the artistic 
conception of nature and landscape 
is much more developed than the 
critical. Through this rare mental 

gift he stands in close relationship 
to many British travellers, notably 
to William Martin Leake (1777- 
1860), who on his military and 
diplomatic visits to Turkey, Greece, 
and Egypt during the early part of 
the century had gathered a large 
amount of topographical and anti- 
quarian knowledge which he pub- 
lished in a series of Works on 
Athens (1821), Asia Minor (1824), 
the Morea (1830), and Northern 
Greece (1835). Of him Curtius 
himself says (' Alterthum und 
Gegenwart,' vol. ii. p. 319) : " Wil- 
liam Leake occupies in the history 
of science, indeed we may say of 
modern civilisation, au important 
position, which deserves so much 
more acknowledgment as the man 
himself was so modest and unas- 
suming in his work. But we dwell 
with peculiar interest on such 
scholarly endeavours as stand ap- 
parently in no connection with 
the labours of others ; which origin- 
ated through accidental circum- 



lengthened residence in Athens and his travels all over 
Greece and the Grecian Archipelago, as also through his 
subsequent repeated visits to these countries, Curtius 
formed for himself a vivid picture of the topographical, 
geographical, and ethnographical characteristics of the 
Gredan landscape, of the soil, the climate, and the locali- 
ties that produced the different Grecian races which to- 
gether formed Ancient Greece with its different centres 
of civilisation, in Sparta, Asia Minor, and Athens, m 
Olympia and Delphi. From this comprehensive pomt 
of view which had been prepared by some of the English 
historians and travellers, and which was entirely m the 
spirit of his teacher, Otfried Mliller,! Curtius undertook 

stances, but stand, nevertheless, m 
a large historical connection, and 
arose, as it were, with a certain ne- 
cessity. ... He devoted his life to 
the rediscovery of the Old W orid, 
which has its history quite as much 
as the discovery of the New World, 
and for which Leake was the true 
Columbus. ... He is an mtel- 
lectual relative of Rawhnson, 
Layard, Sir Charles Fellowes, who 
have rediscovered whole worlds of 
ancient culture, and if England 
may be proud of anything, it is of 
the fact that whilst on the Con- 
tinent the devastating spirit of the 
Revolution was still dominant, there 
a high-minded and enlightened 
enthusiasm for Grecian art had 
captured the first intellects of the 

nation." . 

1 As also of Carl Ritter, who, 
together with his more celebrated 
contemporary, A. von Humboldt, 
established what I have termed 
the panoramic view of nature. He 
is considered to be the greatest 
geographer the nineteenth century 
has produced. If Humboldt's view 
of nature was essentially cos- 
mical, Ritter's was more strictly 

confined to the terrestrial aspect. 
"The last and highest truths of 
the geographical .sciences find ex- 
pression in the recognition that the 
formation of the surface of the 
earth and the difference of climate 
depending thereon have governed 
the development of our species 
and defined the changing homes of 
human culture in such a way that 
a glance at the terrestrial landscape 
leads us to see in the distribution 
of land and water, of plains and 
heights, a definite— we might say an 
intentionally prescribed— course of 
human affairs. Since Strabo, down 
to our century, nobody approached 
these deep secrets. Besides the 
many thoughtful ideas which A. 
von Humboldt expressed or sug- 
gested, the greatest revelations 
have come from the mouth of Carl 
Ritter, of whom we may well say 
that he has put a soul into our 
natural knowledge of the earth, 
that he, for the first time, suspected 
in the aspect of the different con- 
tinents, which he termed the great 
individuals of the earth, secretly 
active personalities, or that he ai 
least traced their activities m tne 


to write the history of Greece down to the end of the 
classical period. It is an artistic conception, born in 
the mind of a poetical nature, and it is embodied in 
language the beauty of which has few rivals in modern 
German prose literature. Details of this poetical con- 
ception, which may be compared with that of a great 
landscape painter, had been given to the world in 
Curtius' earliest work on the Peloponnesus, and were 
subsequently further elaborated in a series of addresses 
which he, as '' professor eloquentise," delivered at Got- 
tingen and Berlin. There, with the touch of an artist, 
he showed the finer mouldings of the Grecian mind as 
it appeared to a loving and enthusiastic admirer of the 
noble side of Grecian culture. That such a work as 

history of the human race" (0. 
Peschel, ' Geschichte der Erd- 
kunde,' 2ud ed,, Munich, 1877, 
p. 16, &c.) "He revealed to us 
that the ancient world, in which 
all continental phenomena appear 
sharpened, exhibits more powerful 
outlines than the New World, 
which is poor in contrast, like all 
creatures of the ocean, for water., 
he remarks, removes individualitj'. 
Europe, on the other side, slim and 
delicately formed, with stretching 
out members and deep penetrating 
water - courses, appears as a con- 
tinent with higher organisation, as 
a thoughtfully planned nursery of 
human society " (Ibid., p. 812). 
Ideas similar to these lived in the 
mind of Ernst Curtius. With Ritter 
he had also in common the religi- 
ous point of view ; for the method 
of the latter "did not lie," as he 
himself says, * ' in the truth of a 
logical notion but in the totality 
of all truths, i.e., in the domain of 
faith. It rests on an inner intui- 
tion which is formed during his 
life in nature and the human 

world" (Bogekamp, *Karl Ritter,' 
1860, p. 8). If Curtius, on the 
one side, assimilates much of 
Ritter's conception, on the other 
side he had also a full appre- 
ciation of that artistic and poetical 
view which the study of the ancient 
world of Greece had produced in 
many of the leading thinkers of 
the classical period, and which 
found expression in a transient 
phase of Schelling's philosophy. 
Though Curtius had as little sym- 
pathy with the logical fsystems of 
contemporary speculation on the 
one hand as he had with extreme 
criticism on the other, he never- 
theless admired Schelling's view as 
laid down, e.g., in his celebrated 
Discourse (1807) " On the Relation 
of the Plastic Arts to Nature." 
We may also trace an intellectual 
kinship between Curtius and a, 
thinker of a very difiPerent order, 
the eminent naturalist, Karl Ernst 
von Baer, for some of whose 
writings Curtius expressed much 








that of Curtius could not have come out of the school 
of Hermann or Eitschl is evident. Those who repre- 
sented the ideals of that school had ample occasion to 
find fault with the want of erudition and critical acumen, 
which— it goes without saying— can never be great 
and deep enough in any historian. Some of Curtms' 
favourite theories, notably those referring to prehistoric 
times were put down as fanciful and premature, but we 
may now ask, were the constructions of David Strauss 
in his ' Life of Jesus,' nay, even the views of Niebuhr, 
less so ? Subsequent scholars have disposed of the con- 
structions of the two last-named authors, whilst many 
of the ideas of Curtius may still await the final verdict 
of the archaeologist. 

The historical labours of Curtius must con^1nce us 
how little the purely critical process could have produced 
such work. For an explanation of Curtius' literary 
aenius we have to look to the traditions and inspirations 
of the classical age of German literature. The work ot 
Mommsen introduces us to entirely different courses 
of thought, which crossed and intermingled with the 
methods of the criticism of texts and documents. In 
order to bring unity into his view of Roman history, 
Mommsen started from that bequest of Eoman civilisa- 
tion which has, especially in Germany, exerted the 
greatest influence on modern life and society : the great 
edifice of Eoman law. This had been a favourite study 
at the German universities, where it formed, alongside of 
purely philological, and later on of mathematical studies, 
one of the principal subjects of mental discipline. 

The foundation of Mommsen's Eoman History was 


prepared by him in two great undertakings which 
occupied him during the larger part of his life, and 
which, from a learned point of view, will probably 
entitle him to greater and more lasting renown than the 
history, which he wrote at the request of a prominent 
Berlin publisher. This formed, together with Curtius' 
'History of Greece' and some other text -books and 
editions of classical authors, the first attempt to put 
before the educated public the results of learned labours 
in a popular and attractive form. The two lines of 
study referred to resulted in the publication of his work 
on 'Eoman Constitutional Law,' and in his edition of the 
'Latin Inscriptions.' As stated above, Eoman law, as 
the foundation of the Eoman State, formed for Mommsen 
the key to Eoman history. But there was another 
influence which formed the background of his historical 
conceptions. This was the peculiar position which 
he took up with regard to the political events of 
his time. Political views had already, before his time, 
played a great part in German historiography. In most 
cases, however, a strong political bias, exhibited in favour 
of or against the existing r^ime and generated under 
the influence of the startling events which followed the 
great French Eevolution all through the nineteenth 
century, sufficed to place their authors outside of the 
pale of genuine scholarship, which should be founded on 
the unbiassed results of historical criticism. Eanke had 
kept singularly aloof from the politics of the day ; his 
works really grew up on the older foundation of the 
idealism of the first third of the nineteenth century to 
which I have so often referred. Mommsen was probably 




temper in 


the first great German historian in whom an unrivalled 
mastership in the critical methods and an unparalleled 
erudition was mingled with the modern political temper. 
He had lived through the great political crisis of the 
middle of the century which had swept away all the 
older landmarks, many of the great aspirations of the 
earlier period, and also that religious spirit which— m an 
unconfessional and unorthodox form-lived in the great 
heroes of the classical epoch and in those who were 

inspired by them. 

In the General Introduction to this work I have 
used the word Keligion as denoting what is to us of 
the deepest personal concern, our innermost faith and 
convictions, finding expression in individual subjective 
thought; not infrequently also in poetic or artistic 
creation. In this sense I may now refer to that 

1 "In Mommsen's Work the i 
whole receives a peculiarly vivid j 
colouriug which evidently stands ; 
in connection with the political \ 
mood which recent experiences had , 
produced in many patriotic minds. 
The 'Ideologues' are ridiculed 
with caustic bitterness, and again 
and again we are told with an 
impetuous accent that only those 
can count on a statesmanlike in- 
fluence who understand how to 
calculate calmly and to utilise 
existing political forces. Con- 
spicuous is the contrast with the 
solemn gravity and the old - fash- 
ioned stiflfness of what has been 
called 'dignity of historic style 
. . . : men and things are conceived 
with fresh immediateness and 
brought out with drastic vivacity. 
In particular the active persons are 
pot mere shadows, but are full of 
pulsating freshness of life. . .'. 

In all this the polemical tendency 
which pervades the whole work 
makes itself felt with an energy 
characteristic of an opposition based 
upon fundamental principles. . . • 
The political estimate of the whole 
development of the Roman Republic 
in its different phases produces 
everywhere original and suggestive 
points of view ; ... the defects 
of the republican constitution are 
pointed out ; the events of the last 
century are placed in quite a new 
light as preparatory to the military 
monarchism of Csesar ; the im- 
portance of which is pictured with 
evident preference. . . . The edu- 
cated public in Germany which had 
lost nearly all interest in home 
labours referring to the ancient 
world was won with one stroke 
for Roman history " (Wachsmuth, 
* Einleitung,' &c., p. 48 sqq.) 


influence which tempered criticism in all its greater 
exponents during the first half of the century in Ger- 
many as the religious or spiritual influence of German 
idealism. I emphasise again that I do not limit the 
term " religion " by any strict dogmatic or confessional, ^^^^^.^^ 
by any orthodox or rationalistic definition. From this ^J^J^^f^^^^^i 
background of a religious conviction which found its ex- fgJJJf 
pression sometimes in traditional forms, more frequently ^"^'^^"^^ 
in poetical or philosophical rendering, historical criticism 
in Germany liberated itself more and more through and 
after the revolutionary crisis of the middle of the century. 
From that time the religious influence loses its tem- 
pering and controlling effect. Inasmuch, however, as 
criticism alone is not sufficient to lead to any definite 
results or any positive view in any extensive department 
of learning, other influences had gained ground, of which 
the political, the naturalistic, and the industrial are the 
most prominent. In no department of knowledge which, 
through the great battle of free inquiry with tradition, 
was rescued during the first half of the century from the 
control of inherited views, have these modern influences 
shown themselves more prominently than among recent 
German historians. To follow this up is not my present 
task ; for it would be necessary to enter in greater com- 
pleteness and detail into the development of German 
historiography,^ which, as has been said, begins to be of 


1 Readers who are interested in 
this will find full information in 
F. X. von Wegele, * Geschichte der 
Deutschen Historiographie ' (1885, 
p. 975 to end) ; in 0. Lorenz, 
* Die Geschichtswissenschaf t ' (2 
vols., 1886-91); in the chapter on 

"Mediseval and Modem Historio- 
graphy at the German Universities," 
by Theodor Lindner (Lexis, loc. cit, 
vol. ii. p. 549 sqq.) ; and lastly, in 
Ernst Bernheim, * Lehrbuch der 
Historischeu Methode ' (1st ed., 
1889 ; 6th ed., 1908). 





general European interest only in the third decade of 
the century.i por the History of European Thought it 
is important, but also sufficient, to show how the critical 
spirit entered more and more into regions of research 
and learning which, before that time, were cultivated 
without the conscious application of any definite method. 
To do this I have, as it were, merely sampled an 
enormous material, having dealt with a few prominent 
representatives— such as Niebuhr and Kanke, Kitschl 
and Mommsen— who are now recognised by authorities 
all over Western Europe, or with others— such as Carl 
Bitter and Ernst Curtius— who exhibit what is peculiarly 
characteristic and unique among the contributions of the 
German mind to this department of European thought. 

In one of the later chapters of this section I shall 
have an opportunity of showing how philosophical 
criticism has latterly approached, among other subjects, 
the historical problem also from a different side, having 
been led to deal with it as one of the principal aspects 
of a much larger question, of what I have termed " the 
problem of society." 


As stated above, we may trace back philosophical 
criticism, or criticism par excellence, to the writings of 
Kant. They appeared somewhat later than those of 
Lessing, whom we have regarded as the first repre- 
sentative in Germany of that critical movement which, 

1 By Lord Acton, in the ' English Historical Review,' vol. i. p. 7. 


in the form of literary, philological, and historical criti- 
cism, permeated, and ultimately dominated, the scholarly 
literature of that country. One of the first fruits of ^.^Jl^^^.^ 
that other and independent line of thought which we ^Jf^f^^^^^^^ 
trace back to Kant was the appearance in the year 1791 FicSrand 
of Fichte's anonymously published 'Criticism of Eeve- 
lation.' It created such a stir that it was in the 
beginning taken for a work of Kant himself. It was 
followed, in the year 1793, by Kant's work, entitled 
' Religion within the Limits of Pure Eeason.' In these 
writings, as also in those of many other followers of 
Kant and Fichte, an idea was more systematically 
worked out, which we find already in Lessing, and in 
a vaguer form in Herder : the idea of regarding religion 
in its historical development, and especially revealed 
religion, as an educational process, which, under Divine 
guidance, has led mankind on to a purer morality and 
a more spiritual life. This idea was worked out from 
various points of view, more or less poetically, intel- 
lectually, ethically, or spiritually, according to the 
personal bias and tastes of different writers. From the 
position taken up in this respect by Lessing, Herder, 
Kant, and Fichte, the way could easily be found into all 
shades of orthodoxy or rationalism, of deism or super- 
naturalism, of theism or pantheism, of a prosaic moralis- 
ing or a poetical idealisation. 

As history has shown, none of these ways remained 
untrodden,^ so great was the perplexity in which 
thinkers found themselves involved, so great the desire 

^ This is fully brought out in the trans, by Robson and Taylor, 1871), 
' History of Protestant Theology in see vol. ii. pp. 293-344, and especi- 
f^ermany' by J. A. Domer (Eng. ally the retrospect, pp. 345-47. 






to find a way out of it.^ It is therefore not surprising 
to see how other courses of thought which bore on 
the same subject were hailed with interest or with 
enthusiasm as they presented themselves about the same 
time, i.e„ at the end of the eighteenth century. Among 
47 these must be mentioned, as perhaps the most important 
^r^^Sl and fruitful, the appearance of Schleiermacher's ' Eeligious 
Sr/es. Discourses' (1799). These discourses were published 
with a significant sub-title, as addressed to the "edu- 
cated among the despisers " of religion. It is not my 
intention to enter now into an adequate consideration 
of Schleiermacher's views, which will occupy us fully on 
a future occasion, as they mark probably the most 
important attempt during a long period to get out of 

1 This perplexity is well brought 
out by Reinhold in his ' Letters on 
the Kantian Philosophy,' which 
appeared in two volumes in 1790 
and 1792. They are admirably 
analysed in Kuno Fischer's work 
on * Fichte and his Predecessors, 
which forms the fifth volume of 
his ' History of Modern Philosophy 
(see especially p. 54, &c.) Kant 
started in his first ' Critique with 
a purely logical problem which he 
expressed in the abstract question : 
How are synthetical judgments a 
priori possible] His answer to 
this question was partly logical, 
partly psychological. A strictly 
scientific examination of the solu- 
tion he gave belongs, as I stated 
above (p. 125), to a much later 
period, when both logic and psy- 
chology had been much further 
developed. Kant's age was hardly 
prepared to give an exhaustive and 
satisfactory reply ; but the abstract 
question presented itself to that 
age in various concrete forms which 
were intelUgible to the reasoning of 

a much larger circle of educated 
persons. Among these, three prob- 
lems stand out most prominently : 
1. How is scientific knowledge pos- 
sible ? 2. How is morality or moral 
obligation possible ? 3. How is reli- 
gion possible ? That scientific know- 
ledge did exist — notably mathe- 
matics and natural philosophy—- 
there was no doubt ; that a moral 
code must exist, and that this la 
closely connected with a higher or 
spiritual view of things, was not de- 
nied,— neither by such destructive 
sceptics as Voltaire in France, nor 
hardly even by such radical think- 
ers as David Hume in England. 
The more practical forms in which 
the abstract question of Kant 
presented itself, the desire to have 
a philosophy which made it intel- 
ligible how science (presupposing a 
natural order), a supreme law ot 
conduct (presupposing a moral 
order), and reUgious belief could 
exist together and in harmony, 
appealed at once to the age m 
which Kant lived. 

the purely critical position. In this connection, where 
I am occupied in following the movements of the critical 
spirit, it is important to note that these addresses put 
into the foreground a new problem which lent itself as 
much to philosophical as to historical treatment. It is 
characterised by the endeavour, already latent in F. H. 
Jacobi's writings, to look upon religion from a psycho- 
logical point of view. All the many attempts to 
investigate and define the place which belongs to 
religion in the life of the human soul, individually or 
socially, down to such recent writings as those of 
F. B. Jevons, William James, and Wilhelm Wundt, 
can be traced to their beginnings in the work of 
Schleiermacher.^ Eeligion was there looked upon as a 
psychological phenomenon, and it is only in proportion 
to the culture of psychological studies themselves — which 
constitute a principal feature of nineteenth century 
thought — that the problem of Schleiermacher has been 
seriously attacked. 

But there is another movement of thought which had 4s. 


grown ever since the middle of the eiojhteenth century, of religious 

° o ./ ' origins. 

and which was represented at the University of Got- 


^ The books written in Germany 
with titles such as * Das Wesen 
der Religion,' or * Das Wesen des 
Christenthums,' have been legion. 
They are much rarer in the French 
and English languages. In the 
latter Dr F. B. Jevons' ' Intro- 
duction to the History of Religion ' 
(1896) deserves special notice, as 
does also the late Prof. Wm. 
James' ' Varieties of Religious Ex- 
perience* (Gifford Lectures, Edin- 
burgh, 1901-2). Both these books 
have received much attention also 
in German literature. The latter 

work is purely psychological, with a 
strong leaning towards modern 
physiological psychology. Unfor- 
tunately " a later work " which was 
promised, and which would have 
dealt more exhaustively with the 
author's own views, has not been 
published. On the other side Dr 
Jevons' book deals more with that 
side of religion upon which anthro- 
pological psychology has thrown 
some light. Prof. Wundt's large 
work on ' Anthropology ' (' Volcker- 
psy chologie, ' vol. i.l900,further vols. 
1905 and 1909) is still incomplete. 

jiffll I 





of Astruc. 



tinmen by the writings of the Orientalist J. B. Michaelis 
a7l7-9l), and more prominently by Eichhorn, whom 
I xnentioned above, as being, alongside of Heyne and 
Wolf, one of the principal leaders in histonca criticism 
The vac^uer attacks which had been made all through 
the eighteenth century, both in England and notably by 
Voltaire in France, upon the historical books of the Old 
Testament and the truthfulness of the Mosaic records, 
received a more tangible form and a definite s ^ting- 
point through the anonymous publication in 1753 of a 
work entitled ' Conjectures sur les memoires originaux 
dont U parait que Moyse s'est servi pour composer la 
Genfese' The book was written by a French physician, 
Jean Astruc (1684-1766), otherwise well known 
through a variety of medical works. Eichhorn at Got- 
tingenwas the first to draw attention to Astruc s im- 
portant discovery of the twofold name under which the 
Divine Being is introduced into the Mosaic records- 
viz., alternately as Jehovah and Elohim. This discovery 
the author had made use of to demonstrate the twofold 
origin of the sacred histories, and to separate them into 
two records, which partly agreed and partly differed fro- 
each other. The most important work in which Ei^- 
horn made the beginning of what is now called d 
Testament exegesis was his ' Introduction to the Old 
Testament,' which appeared from 1780 up to 1824 
in four editions, latterly in five volumes. In this 

tions towards a comprehension of 
the antiquities of the Bible as the} 
could be gathered from the manners 
and customs of the Pref^nt fnent 
appear here as the pnncipal thmg. 
Also in the study of the Mosaic 

1 With Eichhorn "the interest 
in these (Old Testament) studies is 
only to a small extent theologica , 
nay, hardly even religious, but a - 
most exclusively archieological, lit- 
Sary, and critical. The contnbu- 


work, which exerted a great influence all through the 
century on biblical studies abroad, he is considered as 
having, for the first time, assumed the truly scientific 
position in the larger sense of the word, having applied 
"the principles of philological and historical criticism, 
the use of which he had learnt under Heyne in the 
domain of archaeology, to the study of the Old Testa- 
ment." ^ This beginning of biblical criticism, which was 
not applied methodically to the books of the New Testa- 
ment till much later, had for a considerable time but 
little influence upon religious, theological, or even philo- 
sophical thought, which was rather under the influence 
of the purely philosophical writings mentioned above or 
of the poetical views elaborated by Herder.^ Appar- 

records following Astruc, criticism 
•' has 80 little notion of the pre- 
vailing spirit which is to be found 
also in apparently heterogeneous 
portions that it sees the solution of 
the problem in accepting a number 
of unconnected and irreconcilable 
fraf^ments " (E. Krautsch in Lexis, 
loc.cit.,Yo\. ii. p. 181). It is in- 
teresting to note that from the 
Gottingen school, and especially 
from Michaelis, emanated the plan 
of exploring the countries of the 
East in the interest of theological 
science. This led to such travels 
as those of the elder Niebuhr and 
others which were supported by 
the Danish Government. 

^ Siegfried in * Deutsche Bio- 

2 In this connection it is im- 
portant to draw attention to 
Herder's relations to Gottingen, 
especially to Eichhorn, and how he 
and the latter represent two sides 
of biblical study, the poetical and 
literary on the one side, the critical 
and archaeological on the other. 
That Herder himself recognised 

the difference is evident from his 
correspondence with Eichhorn, and 
is fully dealt with in R. Haym, 
* Herder,' 2 vols., 1880-85 (see 
vol. ii. p. 166 sqq.) Herder's most 
important work in this direction 
was that on the * Spirit of Hebrew 
Poetry' (1782). Although, as is 
stated in the Preface, the posi- 
tion taken up is original, it 
was no doubt to a considerable 
extent suggested by an English 
writer whom Michaelis in Got- 
tingen had brought prominently 
before the German literary world, 
namely, Robert Lowth (1710- 
87), Bishop of London, who, as 
Professor of Poetry at Oxford 
(1741), delivered ' Prselectiones 
Academicse de Sacra Poesi He- 
braeorum.' These were published 
in Latin in 1753. A second edi- 
tion appeared in 1763, and was 
republished at Gottingen, with 
Notes by Michaelis in 1770, and 
translated, with the Notes, into 
English by G. Gregory (1787). 
Though Lowth is now recognised 
as one of the pioneers in the 



1 u 




of Hegel. 


Da\id F. 

ently Schleiermacher was the first to come under the 
influence of both movements and to give to them a new 
and original expression. 

Through the doubts which he threw out regarding the 
authenticity of the First Epistle to Timothy (1807), he 
has been considered to have inaugurated a new Ime of 
criticism— viz., the literary criticism of the books of the 
New Testament. It is not unlikely that he would have 
occupied in critical theology the position which he 
himself aimed at, doing for theology what Kant had 
done for philosophy, had it not been that the interest of 
religious thinkers was attracted in a different direction. 
This came from the side of the Hegelian philosophy, 
which for a time kept theological speculation spell- 
bound. It was only after the fascination which Hegel 
exercised on many minds was removed, and many ex- 
pectations had been disappointed, that the influence of 
Schleiermacher made itself felt in wider circles. The 
change, which amounted almost to a crisis, in German 
theology, was brought about in the year 1835 by the 
publication of D. Fr. Strauss's (1808-74) 'Life of 
Jesus.' This work furnishes another proof of the correct- 
ness of a remark I have had frequent occasion to make, 
how little the higher criticism alone is capable of deal- 
ing in a comprehensive manner with any large subject 
or\ny great problem ; how necessary it is to import the 

Utera.7 and criti^l .study c.tHe ^ It is ^nte-^g ^o^n^^^^^^^^^^^ 

than in England Together w,th -f ^^.^^^^^^^ Kegel's 

Macpherson's ' Ossian and the ^^^.^ J^^'*;'' ""^^^^ 

♦ Percy Ballads,' he had a very first g^f t work, the 

important influence upon German ology of Mmd. 



unifying principle from some other region of thought. 
In the case of Strauss's work, the larger aspect was 
gained under the influence of the philosophy of Hegel, 
which has had such a dominant influence, consciously or 
unconsciously, and for good or for evil, upon so many 
other prominent students of history. Strauss, who was 
brought up in the narrow surroundings and contracted 
views of the Tubingen theological training-school, went 
for the completion of his studies to Berlin, where he 
came under the influence of both Hegel and Schleier- 
macher, two luminaries of the first magnitude, who 
moved in separate orbits.^ Thus it came about that the 

^ A great deal has been written 
upon the distinct and very differ- 
ent positions which were prepared 
and represented respectively by 
Hegel and Schleiermacher in Ger- 
man thought, and especially in 
German theology. For a long time 
the importance of Schleiermacher 
as a philosopher was neglected in 
favour of his theological influence. 
This was owing, to a large extent, 
to the fact that he published no 
works on pure philosophy, and 
that his position, so far as the 
latter is concerned, was known only 
through his oral teaching and 
to a small number of philoso- 
phers, among whom Brandis and 
Ritter are conspicuous, and spread 
into wider circles only through the 
posthumous publication of his Lec- 
tures. The principal reason, how- 
ever, must be found in this, that 
Hegel absorbed all philosophical 
interest, and that even after this 
interest had gradually almost dis- 
appeared, nevertheless nearly all 
historians of modem philosophy 
belonged to the school of Hegel 
and were inspired by him ; the 
historical labours in Schleiermach- 
er's school being mostly directed to 

ancient and mediseval speculation. 
" Schleiermacher was infinitely 
different from Hegel in his person- 
ality as well as in his teaching. 
The two never stood in close con- 
nection though they were placed 
so near to each other in their com- 
mon activity at the newly founded 
University of Berlin, the centre of 
German scholarship, from which 
at that time an unparalleled 
fructifying power spread over the 
whole of recently liberated Ger- 
many. Among the first minds of 
the nation, which were here as- 
sembled, these two men stood in 
the first rank. But they came in 
contact only to repel each other ; 
a deep-seated antipathy filled them 
to the last. Strauss somewhere 
compared two theologians, Daub 
and Schleiermacher, in the radical 
difference of their character, with 
Homer's heroes, Ajax and Ulysses. 
Perhaps this comparison might 
with the same right be applied to 
Hegel and Schleiermacher. For as 
Hegel's peculiarity was substantial 
thoroughness, which penetrated 
into the last ground of things, 
into the unexplored depths of the 
Universe ; so, on the other side, 








categories of Hegel's metaphysics were applied in the 
mind of Strauss to the theological subjects which were 
dealt with in Schleiermacher's lectures.^ From Hegel 
Strauss adopted the speculative principle of his work. 
This may be variously expressed. For Strauss it took 
the form of the immanence of the Divine Spirit in the 
world. This signifies that the Divine Spirit works in 
the world from inside, not from outside, that its activity 
is orderly, continuous, and connected, excluding every- 
thing that is miraculous as an external influence, as 
a casual interference or interruption. How this idea 
was worked out by the interpretation of the gospel 
records as mythical creations, and how the whole con- 
ception was upheld by a formidable array of critical and 
exegetical erudition, need not occupy us at the moment. 
It is sufficient to emphasise the fact that it was by no 
means a sober, critical investigation, but rather a specu- 
lative construction, under the sanction of the canons of 
HegeVs philosophy, which made Strauss celebrated; 
perhaps also not less the fact that what appeared 
abstruse and unintelligible in Hegel was set out and 

Schleiermacher was in life and 
learning the representative of sub- 
jectivity, the man of the most 
restless mobility, of biting wit, as 
well as easily stirred feeling. There 
was in him a wonderful elasticity 
and agility of mind. ... To state 
it concisely, there was in him a 
rare combination of deep and sub- 
lime religious feeling, of mysticism, 
in the best sense of the word, and 
of an intensely mobile logical 
intellect " (see Carl Schwarz, 
* Zur Geschichte der Neuesten 

Theologie,' 3rd ed., 1864, p. 29, 

1 Notably to the ' Life of Jesus, 
on which subject ''Schleiermacher 
was the first to deliver lectures full 
of dissolvent scepticism and with 
great power of combination. Princi- 
pally in order to hear them David 
Strauss— then a lecturer on theo- 
logy—went in 1831 from Tubingen 
to Berlin. They gave him the 
strongest impulse to his later de- 
structive work" (Ibid., p. 28). 


applied in a lucid form and in elegant language by his 

The effect of Strauss's work was enormous, and not 
less so because the conclusions he came to were 
premature. To the more sober - minded, who were 
aware how in many instances Strauss had forestalled 


^ Allowing that the greater part 
of Strauss's work has become obso- 
lete through subsequent criticism, 
the Introduction to the first volume 
and the Conclusion to the second 
are still well worth reading by 
those who desire to receive infor- 
mation on two points. First of 
all, we get in the Introduction 
a vivid picture of the perplexity 
and unsettlement which had pene- 
trated into theological circles 
through the influence of English 
deism, German rationalism, life- 
less traditional orthodoxy, and the 
Kantian philosophy. We also 
learn how the idea, which Strauss 
professes to have worked out in its 
completeness, the mythical or 
legendary character of the biblical 
records, had been prepared, but 
only partially applied, by previous 
religious and philosophical think- 
ers. What he means by the 
mythical point of view he defines 
himself. (1st ed., Introduction, p. 
75.) "Putting everything to- 
gether, little stands in the way of 
finding the mythical in all parts of 
the Gospel Story. The word 
'myth' will, however, give as little 
umbrage to sensible persons as any 
mere word should ever do ; for all 
the ambiguity which, through the 
suggestion of heathen mythology, 
clings to that word, should dis- 
appear through the explanation, 
according to which the myths of 
the New Testament are nothing 
else but quasi-historical represent- 
ations of genuine Christian ideas 

grown through unintentional 
poetical legends." Further, in the 
Conclusion to the second volume 
(p. 729), Strauss refers to Schelling 
and Hegel as the leaders of that re- 
cent philosophy through which the 
narrow conception of the relation 
of the Deity to the world, as also the 
purely moralising theory of Kant, 
had been overcome. "If God is 
conceived as Spirit, there is con- 
tained in this statement, as man 
also is spirit, that both are not 
essentially dififerent. . . . God is 
not conceived as the rigid Infinite 
over and outside of the Finite, but 
as entering into the latter ; the 
Finite nature and mind being His 
external appearance out of which 
He ever returns again into unity 
with Himself. As little as the 
human exists truly only in its 
finitude ; as little has God reality 
only in His self-contained Infini- 
tude. But the Infinite is only 
truly Spirit when He unfolds Him- 
self in finite spirits ; as the Finite 
Spirit is likewise only real if He 
dives into the Infinite. The real 
and true existence of the Spirit is 
therefore neither God alone nor 
man alone, but the God -man." 
With these two presuppositions — 
the legendary envelope which sur- 
rounds the biblical records and the 
Hegelian conception of the idea 
which he himself compares with 
Plato's Ideology — Strauss with 
much erudition expounds and ex- 
plains all the main incidents of the 
Life of Jesus. 




F. C. Baur. 

results to support or refute which would take a long 
period of research and much sifting of material which 
had hardly yet been brought together, the correct thmg 
seemed to be to postpone the verdict on the many 
cardinal questions which he had raised and to pursue 
patiently the work of historical criticism ; subjectmg the 
books of the New Testament to the same methodical 
examination as had been practised for some time al- 
ready with reference to the books of the Old Testament, 
and still more in the philological treatment of the 
profane classics. For a considerable time this work was 
carried on in the " Tubingen School," at the head of 
which stood Ferdinand Christian Baur (1792-1860), 
who after the death of Schleiermacher in 1834, may be 
recrarded as the most prominent leader in German 
theological science. His publications had already begun 
ten years before Strauss's work appeared. In the same 
year with the latter, Baur published a work on Christian 
Philosophy of Keligion.^ This work may be considered, 
as much as that of Strauss, to be an outcome of Hegel 
and Schleiermacher's combined speculations. Like 
Strauss in his ' Life of Jesus,' Baur, in this work, 
professes to continue and to carry out, more consistently, 
views which had been prepared by his predecessors,- 

among other writings, of a ' History 
of Heresy' (2 vols.. 1746-48) and 
J. A. W. Neander (1789-I8o0), the 
well-known historian of the Christ- 
ian Religion and Church. It is 
especially in connection with tne 
early sects of the Gnostics and ttieir 
position to the orthodox doctrine ot 
the Church, that Baur develops 
his wider conception, that a com- 
prehension of the Gnostic view can 

1 'Die Christliche Gnosis oder 
die Christliche Religions - Philo- 
Bophie in ihrer Geschichtlichen 
Entwickelung,' Tiibingen, 1835. 

2 Amongthese he mentions three: 
Rene Massuet, a Benedictine Monk 
(1666-1716), the editor of the Works 
of St Irentfius and St Bernard ; J. 
L. von Mosheim (1694-1755), one of 
the celebrated early professors of 
the University of Gottingen, author, 


and to trace the endeavour to fathom philosophically 
and systematise the Christian doctrine, from the 
beginning which was made by the Gnostics, through the 
patristic and scholastic philosophies of the middle ages 
down to the theosophy of Jacob Bohme, and from him 
to Schelling, Schleiermacher, and Hegel. It was one of 
the first and most important elaborations of Hegel's 
grand conception of historical development. The same 
idea was followed out in a series of works — down to the 
year 1860 — on the historical development of separate 
Christian dogmas and ultimately of the Christian Church 
itself. " The characteristic feature in these works is 
that the history of ecclesiastical and especially dogmatic 
development is considered as a necessary mental process 
which is dialectically carried on ; that, however rich the 
details may be, no single feature has as such any value, 
but only if it is placed in the whole and considered as 
a moment in the process of the general idea which 
governs everything. Thus the philosophical treatment 
of history is here taken seriously and based on the 
foundation of so much learned research and acute com- 
bination that the ordinary reproach of abstract con- 
structions which is rightly advanced against so many of 
Hegel's disciples is silenced in the presence of such an 
author and such labours. Nevertheless, though Baur 
is favourably distinguished among other members of 
Hegel's school by his genuine erudition, it cannot 

only be found " in the idea of philo- 
sophy of religion itself, as it belongs 
to the essence of such philosophy 
again and again to enter upon the 
same path which had been trodden 

by the ancient Gnostics " {loc. cit., 
p. 9), a view which Baur had already 
explained in his inaugural disserta- 
tion of the year 1827. 







If i 


be denied that in his case also a certain dnalism 
becomes evident, a general aspect being f requent y only 
a ready-made logical category, in which the single facte 
are caught as in a^ loop, being like a label externally 

attached to them."^ _ 

Strauss was well aware that historical criticism forms 
only one side of the critical process, that it must be 
supplemented by philosophical criticism. Ever since 
Jacobi and Schleiermacher raised the question as to the 
psychological origin and essence of faith and religion, 
H has become indispensable for every philosopher to 
answer the question regarding the nature of re- 
Hcnon and its relation to other mental processes. The 
conception which Schleiermacher insisted on, that fai h 
has an independent origin in the human soul alongside 
of the intellectual and active powers, that, m conse- 
quence, religion occupies a region for itself among human 
interests, was for a long time lost sight of, owing o 
the absence of a truer and fuller psychology. Notably 
in the philosophy of Hegel, religion was looked upon as 
a purely intellectual process, which process found its 
consummation in philosophy. Belief was an inferior 
stage in the development of thought, which must be 
superseded by knowledge. This process of the sell- 
destruction of faith in its progress towards knowledge 
was worked out by Strauss in detail in his second grea 
work on ^ Christian Dogmatics in their Historical 
Development and in their Battle with Modern Science. 
In this work he tries to show how the general process 

1 CarlSchwarz, « Zur Geschichte der Neuesten Theologie ' (3rd ed., p. 
149, &c.) 


of dissolution of faith through thought, of religion 

through philosophy, is manifested historically in the 

dissolution of the various dogmas. " The real critique 

of the dogma is its history. It is first of all to be found 

in a naive and indefinite form in the Scriptures ; in the 

analysis and closer definition of it the Church splits 

into factions, which may develop into heretical extremes ; 

then comes the fixing of it in the symbols, and these 

are elaborated into theological dogmas; but gradually 

criticism awakens, the mind distinguishes itself from 

the reality which it has assumed in the doctrine of the 

Church. The subject retires from the substance of its 

beliefs and negatives them as truth. This is only done 

because the mind has discovered another truth, though 

in an undeveloped form ; and all now depends on this, 

whether this new speculative truth is the same as the 

old dogmatic truth, or whether it is foreign and opposed 

to it, or lastly, whether a middle way can be found." ^ 

A large section of German theologians were for a long 

time occupied in looking for this middle way. ' Strauss 

himself indicated a solution by adopting the Hegelian 

formula, according to which " the Divine Being is not 

a personality, but becomes personal through an infinite 

process of personification." 

With Baur, as well as with Strauss in his earlier 
writings, criticism was limited to exegetical work on 
the one side and to the interpretation of existing texts 
and historical records in the light of some philosophical 
idea or of some unproved but plausible generalisation on 
the other. With them criticism had not penetrated to 

^ 2 vols., 1840-41. The quotation in the text is to be found vol. i. p. 71. 

k ' I) il 

y f 







the philosophical foundations upon which they built 
their constructive attempts. They lived, like so many 
other of their contemporaries, under the spell of Hegehan 
speculation ; but this spell was to be broken, the very 
foundations themselves, on which they built, were to 
become the subject of a not less unsparing logical or 
philosophical criticism. This process of philosophical 
53. criticism culminated in the work of another disciple of 
phi^af" Hegel's: that of Ludwig Feuerbach (1804-72), whose 
FeuSh. 'Essence of Christianity ' (1841), followed (in 1845) by 
his ' Essence of Eeligion,' produced in this line of criticism 
a crisis similar to that produced by Strauss some years 
earlier in historical criticism. If the Divine Being, 
according to Hegel and Strauss, is not a person, but an 
infinite process of personification, this means that the 
Divine becomes identical with the Human, because in 
human history alone do we meet with this process of 
development. We are thus obliged to identify Divinity 
with Humanity : we. are led to the religion of Humanity 
and to Feuerbach's definition of religion " as the relation 
of Man to himself, i.e., to his own Being, but as if it 
were another Being." 

It is needless to remark that the Hegelian view was 
i^eJprete- capable of another and quite different interpretation. 
The process of personification of the immanent spirit can 
also be looked upon as the gradual manifestation in time 
and history of the Divine Mind, which was there from 
the bet^inning and only hidden to the human observer. 
From this point of view the highest form of human life 
and thought is not an analogue of the flower in which 
the life of a plant is consummated and eventually 

tion of 






consumed; it is more like the mind of a poet or an 
artist which manifests itself to the world in its creations, 
but does not exhaust itself in them. The latter, as the 
more likely view, was adopted by those who considered 
themselves the true disciples and followers of Hegel, and 
it was also the formula which proved to be so fruitful 
and inspiring in the hands of many of the greatest 
representatives of historical research. This view has 
been elaborated in many forms in German philosophical 
and theological literature up to the present day, though, 
it must be admitted, with decreasing vitality.^ At the 

1 The literature of this school of 
thought is very large, but not 
having apparently exercised any 
influence outside of Germany it 
does not really belong to a History 
of European Thought. Several 
works have been written in which 
these speculations are fully dis- 
cussed. To them I must refer 
readers who are desirous of learning 
more about the now almost for- 
gotten school of * * speculative the- 
ology." Foremost stands the very 
spirited book of Carl Schwarz al- 
ready referred to. It is extremely 
well written, but it comes from a 
period when the real, though small, 
value of speculative theology was 
not quite clearly recognised. The 
author still stands with one foot in 
speculative philosophy and expects 
from it a regeneration of theological 
science : see notably his account of 
the philosophies of the younger 
Fichte and of Weisse, who are about 
the only contemporary religious 
philosophers who escape his trench- 
ant and well - directed criticisms. 
Still more immersed in the specula- 
tive aspect is J. A. Dorner in his 
* History of Protestant Theology,' 
the only book, I believe, belonging 
to this class which has been trans- 
lated into English. For an English 

reader it will probably suffice to 
read such passages as that intro- 
ductory to the chapter on Schelling, 
Hegel, and Schleiermacher (vol. ii. 
p. 357 sqq.), to feel convinced how 
little religious interest, in any other 
than the German mind, could feel 
itself attracted by such a line of 
thought. Dorner is himself like- 
wise still immersed in speculative 
theology. From quite a different 
point of view is written the post- 
humous publication by H. R. von 
Frank (* Geschichte und Kritik der 
Neueren Theologie,' 1st ed. by 
Schaarschmidt, 1894, 4th ed. revised 
and continued by Griitzmacher, 
1908). The author belongs to the 
positive or orthodox school of 
theology, and has accordingly less 
sympathy with the avowed, or 
implied, tendency of the opposite 
school to base theology on — or 
support it by — philosophy. His 
criticisms are, however, in general 
much more cautious than those of 
Schwarz. The book has the further 
advantage of being written at a 
time when the belief in constructive 
systems of philosophy had almost 
entirely disappeared, and when the 
opposite school, under the influence 
of A. Ritschl, had likewise broken 
away from philosophical traditions. 




istic con- 

time when Feuerbach pubUshed his celebrated treatise, 
the view he took had much to recommend it m the 
eyes of many intelligent persons, and it must be 
admitted that it has gained much support from that 
other great movement of nineteenth century thought, 
which has alone resisted the disintegrating action of the 
critical spirit: the astounding progress of natural 
philosophy under the influence of the exact or mathe- 
matical methods. The latter had, at the time when 
Strauss's and Feuerbaeh's writings appeared, at last 
attained to a firm position in German thought and 
become domiciled at the German universities. More- 
over it had done so with a silent disregard of— or m 
ostentatious opposition to-that current of thought which, 
throu<^h the systems of Schelling and Hegel, had for a 
Ion- time the upper hand in the German mmd. There 
now resulted from all this an open conflict, which 
is usually termed the materiaUstic controversy. It 
broke out about the time when a general wave of 
radicalism swept over Continental Europe, -an open 
revolt, without any very definite programme, agamst 
the spirit of reaction which had gradually supervened 
in all the larger and smaller German States, and which 
had allied itself in single instances with Hegelian 
philosophy and ecclesiastical orthodoxy. The result 

From a purely philosophical point 
of view we have the elaborate work 
of Arthur Drews ('Die Deutsche 
Spekulation seit Kant,' 2nd ed., 2 
vols., 1895), which deals specially 
with the central problems of the 
Absolute and of Divine Personahty, 
and treats of theological as well as 
of purely philosophical writers. 

Although the author leads up to the 
idea of the "Unconscious,' which 
he traces like a red line through all 
previous speculation down to its 
clear enunciation by E. von Hart- 
mann, his historical analysis, like 
that contained in Hartmann s own 
critical and historical works, is ex- 
tremely minute and instructive. 


was a general unsettlement of religious and political 
beliefs, which was followed by two distinct tendencies 
in German thought. The first and more popular 
tendency manifested itself among those who felt the 
need of some practical philosophy which should take 
the place of those doctrines that had, through the 
conflict within the schools themselves or through the 
attacks of criticism, lost their stability and the hold 
which they once possessed over the thinking mind. It 
showed itself in the readiness with which they threw 
themselves into new systems, in the hope that these 
would afford some relief in the general perplexities with 
which they were surrounded. Of the various new 
philosophies put forth, two stand out as having 
apparently captured and retained the attention of large 
classes of thinking persons. Neither of them grew up 
within academic circles, in which they have never found 
a real home. They are : the materialistic philosophy, 
the gospel of which is Ludwig Buchner's ' Kraft und 
Stoff' (1855), and the philosophy of Arthur Schopen- 
hauer, which, though of much earlier date, did not 
become generally appreciated till after the death of its 
author in 1860. 

From this, the effect upon the more serious thinkers, 
who in the German universities presided over and led 
the higher education of the nation, differed widely. To 
them it seemed necessary to discard as premature all 
attempts to solve by an omnipotent formula, after the 
manner of Hegel, the great fundamental problems which 
presented themselves. They therefore discarded all 
hurried generalisations and advocated a sober examina- 






i I 

tion of 
solutions : 

tion and survey of the large field of new knowledge and 
research which had been opened out from many sides 
during the first half of the century. This sui-vey had to 
be undertaken with a pronounced regard for those higher 
ethical and religious interests which were in jeopardy 
through the scientific, philosophical, social, and political 
convulsions of the middle of the century. By far the 
most important representative of this attitude, which, 
moreover, was very widespread, was Hermann Lotze 
(1817-81), who was better qualified than any other 
thinker of that time to do justice to the many potent 
influences and constructive ideas which had sprung up 
in such abundance between the years 1780 and 1850. 
To find the rationale of all this accumulated thought 
was indeed a task to which few were equal. Most of 
those who in essentials probably agreed with Lotze s great 
aim, betook themselves to the cultivation of more re- 
stricted regions. They succeeded in establishing, in the 
widest sense of the word, the spirit of free inquiry or 
of historical and philosophical criticism which had, up 
to that date, been loudly proclaimed, but had usually 
been hampered in its full and free development by the 
overpowering influence of certain dominant ideas which, 
mainly through the literature of the great classical 
period, swayed the German intellect. 

Also the several systems of philosophy which the 
classical period of German literature had produced or 
suggested furnished new material for the critical process, 
both from an historical and from a logical point of view. 
Their principles had to be justified or refuted, their 
historical antecedents and logical foundations had to be 


examined and laid bare. In fact, what Kant had 
attempted to do, but only imperfectly performed, had 
to be done on a larger scale and with more abundant 
material. In addition to this, that province of 
philosophy which had been neglected in favour of 
metaphysical constructions, the analysis of the human 
mind, had been cultivated afresh by Herbart and 
Beneke. Almost simultaneously, but independently, 
the modern science of empirical psychology took a fresh 
start in this country as well as in Germany. Shortly 
after this revival had taken place through Herbart in 
Germany, through Mill and Bain in England, a new 
impetus was given to these studies by the appearance, 
in 1860, of Fechner's "Psycho-physics," which seemed 
to hold out the prospect of introducing into phUosophical 
discussions that definiteness and methodical treatment 
which had done so much for the natural sciences. It is 
therefore not to be wondered at that about that time 
the general cry arose for a " return to Kant." The 
leader of this so-called Neo-Kantianism which, however, 
differed as much from Schelling and Hegel as it did 
from Plato and Spinoza among earlier, and from Lotze 
among modern thinkers, may be considered to be 
Friedrich Albert Lange, whose ' History of Materialism ' 
appeared in many editions and was translated into 
several languages. The tendencies of this line of 
thought were strengthened by a general movement 
which had its origin equally in historical, logical, and 
psychological studies ; it was prepared independently in 
England and in Germany, it resulted in the definition of 
a new and independent philosophical discipline, termed 

Return from 
to psy- 
chology : 


ianism : 
F. A. Lange. 






Erkenntnisstheorie, the theory of knowiog, or Epistemo- 
logy. All these recent developments, however much 
they may differ amongst each other, have this in 
common, that they are an outcome of the modern critical 
spirit, of that professedly free and unprejudiced inquiry 
into the historical, logical, and psychological foundations 
of the whole structure of knowledge and belief as it 
has grown up in history or as it presents itself to 
individual minds. Criticism, in fact, had at this stage 
arrived at the study of fundamentals and origins. 
With these it is still everywhere occupied, without any 
immediate prospect of arriving at such tolerable 
unanimity as would secure the foundation for any 
generally acceptable system of philosophy. 

The study of origins and fundamentals at which the 
process of critical examination had thus arrived about 
the year 1860 met with great encouragement and 
support from two independent lines of research which 
had their beginning within the region of the exact and 
natural sciences. These were started by the appearance, 
61 in 1859, of Darwin's 'Origin of Species,' and by the 
Lfrn^i posthumous pubUcation, in 1868, of Kiemann's disserta- 
''"°""* tion (written already in 1854) on the 'Hypotheses of 
Geometry.' The latter was immediately followed by 
Helmholtz's equally important paper on the "Data 
which lie at the Foundation of Geometry." In fact, the 
study of origins and fundamentals had been taken up by 
men of science independently of the critical movement 
in philosophical and historical thought, and contributed 
very largely to the strengthening of the critical move- 
ment. For a moment the hope existed that here at 


last, in these two very different regions, a firm 

foundation and universal principles had been discovered 

which would work in with the general tendency of 

philosophical thought as it was announced in the 

critical works of Kant, temporarily pushed aside by 

the idealistic movement and recently revived by the 

proclamation of the necessity of a return to Kant. It 

was then remembered that Kant himself had made the 

existence of geometrical and dynamical knowledge a 

starting-point in his critical attempt to refute the 

scepticism of Hume, and it was only natural that this 

appeal to the certainty of mathematical knowledge 

should be repeated and urged afresh in the light of 

the mathematical investigations which led Eiemann, 

and the physiological which led Helmholtz, to the 

critical study of our space-conceptions. On the other 

side, it was also remembered how Kant was one of the 

first to study the mechanism of the universe from a 

genetic point of view, and that in one of his three 

'Critiques' he put into the foreground the study of 

teleology — -i.e., of final causes and of purpose in the 

Hving creation, a feature the mechanical explanation of 

which was suggested in the ' Origin of Species.' 

It is not necessary at present to do more than merely 
refer to the enormous literature and the endless dis- 
cussions which during the last third of the century 
circle round the problem of the foundations of mathe- 
matical knowledge on the one side and of the principle 
of organic evolution on the other. It is sufficient at 
present to note how criticism in all its branches has 
been influenced by one or the other of these lines of 




research, or by both combined, as we shall have abun- 
dant opportunity of showing in detail in the following 


It is of greater importance for my present purpose to 
bring under the preliminary notice of my readers the 
fact that in the course of the last forty years the 
attitude of the critical mind towards this problem of 
fundamentals and origins, of the foundations in thought 
and the beginnings in time, has gradually and radically 
changed. The confidence with which, from many sides, 
the ideas of Darwin and Helmholtz were received, has 
gradually vanished, so far at least as the hope is con- 
cerned that on those lines of research any finality may 
be attainable. The study of origins appears to us now 
to mean, not the study of the beginnings, but only that 
of an endless process without beginning or end; the 
genetic process has reduced itself to a genealogical 
record.! Nor has the study of foundations and funda- 
mentals revealed to us any secure basis of thought ; it has 
rather indicated that even the seemingly most certam 
of sciences, geometry and dynamics, rest upon conven- 
tional assumptions, as indeed David Hume had already 
62 foreshadowed. At the end of the century, the critical 
Srdu'to process has thus not realised the expectations with 
""""""■ which both in theoretical and practical questions it 
was methodically started a hundred and twenty years 
ago. Eather it has resulted in a general unsettlement 
favourable both to scepticism and pessimism, and to a 

1 From this point of view the d^ent rather than with that of 

title of Darwin^s work h really origin-a problem which, as Dar 

misleading, as it deals with the win himself admitted m later 

probCs of transformation and years, was really msoluble. 


general distrust and agnosticism with regard to the 
powers of the human mind, by any form of methodical 
thought, be it scientific or philosophical, to arrive at 
that certainty which, if not theoretically necessary, is 
at least practically indispensable in order to secure 
definite aims and steadfastness of purpose in practical 


In dealing with the subject of this chapter,— the 

growth and diffusion of the critical spirit or of the 
spirit of free inquiry,— my readers wUl have noticed that ^.J^-^^,_ 
only little reference has been made to the course which I'H^^J'" 
philosophical thought has taken outside of Germany. °""^°^- 
It is only through a few great names belonging to 
France and Great Britain, that in the course of the 
nineteenth century German thought has been influenced 
at all. This explains why the histories of modern 
phUosophy which have appeared in Germany have up 
to quite recent times taken little notice of the contribu- 
tions of French and English thinkers during the last 
hundred years. It is only since Auguste Comte's and 
Herbert Spencer's systems have become known in 
Germany that German students of philosophy have 
realised the fact that both England and France had ^^j4._^^^ 
developed systems of their own, which had but little, g^hy^ 
if any, contact with German thought. This is notably 5f^",^°™ 
the case as regards the philosophy of Herbert Spencer, 
who professedly did not study the system of any other 
contemporaneous thinker, and, in fact, declared that he 
refrained from reading any philosophical work from 
which he found that he differed on perusal of the first 
pages. Nothing is more striking than that the author 




of a system of philosophy which emphasises progress 
and evolution, should concern himself so little about 
other earlier or later lines of thought; in one word, 
that he should show so little genuine historical interest 
or critical spirit. The followers of Herbert Spencer 
might retort that, if their master was deficient in the 
spirit of historical criticism, contemporary German 
philosophy on the other side was suffocated by it, and 
that the only original thinker in Germany after the 
middle of the century, Hermann Lotze, was likewise 
averse to the historical method and treated the history 
of philosophy in a purely subjective manner. 
65. From the German point of view, the contemporary 

French and 

English philosophies of France and England are mostly unscien- 

philosophy x" x o ^ 

uncritical in ^jg^, j^ ^]^q larger sense of the word, which is identical 

the German o 

sense. ^^^^ Saying that they have till quite recently been 
uncritical. This does not imply that they have not 
occasionally produced brilliant ideas, or that they have 
not succeeded every now and then in coining philosophical 
terms which have become the shibboleths of great schools 
of thought and instruments for the handling of large 
and original conceptions. The reasons why French and 
English thought has been deficient in that methodical, 
continuous, and exhaustive treatment which characterises 
German philosophical and historical learning during the 
nineteenth century are manifold. For a long time after 
David Hume had discouraged metaphysics, the philo- 
sophical interest in England centred in definite prob- 
lems, mostly suggested by the social and industrial 
condition of the nation, or reverted to an analysis of the 
data of common-sense, preparing the way and gathering 


large materials for the modern science of psychology. 
Through the first-named tendency it came into intimate 
relations with French philosophy, from which it had, 
indeed, already during the eighteenth century learnt 
much in economic science. In France the rupture with 
all the traditions of the past which was produced by 
the Eevolution urged the necessity of reconstructive 
work in two distinct and opposite directions, of which 
the one relied upon the rehabilitation of older authorities, 
whilst the other trusted to empiricism. 

Nevertheless, it may be said that the critical spirit 
has entered fully into the philosophical literatures of 
France and England during the last quarter of the century. 
In France the philosophy of M. Eenouvier has adopted 66. 
the name of Neo-Criticism. It emanated from Kant's soph? of*" 
' Critique,' which it remodels in important points.^ Before 
Eenouvier, critical and historical studies in philosophy 
had been largely cultivated in the school and by the 
pupils of Victor Cousin.^ In England by far the most 
important philosophical works, outside of the writings 

I i 

I - 



^ I am inclined to think that no 
recent philosopher has grasped the 
meaning of Criticism in a larger 
sense than Renouvier. It is also sig- 
nificant that of the several larger 
encyclopaedic works published in 
the three countries the * Grande 
Encyclop^die ' alone has an article 
on " Criticism," in which all the 
ditferent sides of its function, as I 
have endeavoured to sketch them 
in this chapter, are referred to. 

"" Quite recently what may be 
called a new school of criticism has 
come to the fore mainly through 
the work of Dutch and French 
critics, beginning with Maspero and 

continued through the labours of 
Salomon Reinach, Ed. Dujardin, 
Maurice Vernes, Ernest Havet, and 
others. Mr Whittaker, in a recent 
work ('Priests, Philosophers, and 
Prophets,' A. & C. Black, 1911), 
has made an attempt to give a 
synoptic, as distinguished from a 
specialist view, of the results of the 
anthropological school of inquiry of 
religious criticism. He terms the 
latter the *' new criticism " as dis- 
tinguished from the "higher criti- 
cism," which is mainly the work of 
German and Dutch theologians, and 
has largely influenced theology in 
this country. 



of Herbert Spencer, are either critical, such as Henry 
67 Sidawick's 'Methods of Ethics' (1875), "Criticism of 
^SSy the° Critical Philosophy'' (in 'Mind,' 1883), F. H 
''""''"'• Bradley's 'Ethical Studies' (1876), 'Principles ^of 
Logic' (1883), and 'Appearance and Keality' (1893), 
and James Ward's 'Naturalism and Agnosticism' 
(1899); or they are occupied with an analysis of the 
principles of the critical and allied philosophies. Among 
the latter I may mention two works which mark epochs 
in English thought: J. S. Mill's 'Examination of Sir 
William Hamilton's Philosophy' (1865), and Edward 
Caird's two critical works on the ' Philosophy of Kant ' 
(1877), and a larger work in two volumes (1889). 

What prevented the critical and historical spirit taking 
more complete possession of the philosophical mind in 
France and England at an earlier date were two distinct 
forms or phases of thought which for a long time ruled 
in their respective countries, and which, in one form or 
the other, have come to be characteristic features of the 
philosophic thought of to-day in all the three countries. 
^ I am referring to the Eclecticism of Victor Cousin m 
KScism France and the philosophy of Common-Sense in Brit- 
sSph^'or ain. The philosophical positions which may be charac- 
ST" terised by the terms " eclecticism " and " common-sense " 
originated in the desire to counteract the sceptical 
tendencies of Hume's philosophy in England and the 
extreme form of the sensational philosophy developed 
by Condillac and his followers in France. German 
philosophers for a long time regarded both the eclectic 
and the common - sense philosophies as dilettante. 
In looking back, however, over the development of 


philosophical thought during the nineteenth century, it 
cannot be denied that the free development of the critical 
process has not only been actually delayed or interrupted 
by the philosophy of common - sense in Britain, the 
eclectic school in France, and the idealistic school in 
Germany, but that even at the present day we have to 
resort to one or the other of the expedients offered respec- 
tively by idealism, eclecticism, or common-sense if we 
desire to relieve the purely expectant attitude which the 
critical method forces upon us ; in other words, if we 
desire to arrive at some positive answer to the great 
philosophical problems. The renewed interest which has 
of late been taken in the systems of Hegel and of Leibniz 
and in the philosophy of the Scottish school proves the 
correctness of this observation. It has been truly said 
that at the end of the nineteenth century Philosophy has ^^.^69.^^^ 
become international ; we had occasion to make a similar becomiBg 
remark with regard to Science. This stage of what we ^-''^^^'' 
might call Co-operation in the higher regions of Thought 
wal reached earlier by Science than by Philosophy. The 
first great scientific idea to be worked out by the aid of 
thinkers of all the civilised nations combined was that 
of which we treated in the earlier part of this history 
under the title of " The Physical View of Nature " : the 
conception of energy. Somewhat later the working out 
of the Darwinian programme, the theory of descent, has 
still more closely united the thinkers in many countries. 
Co-operation in philosophical labours was established 
still later, and not till England had become thoroughly 
acquainted with Continental philosophy by study- 
ing, in a critical spirit, consecutively the philosophies 






Of Comte, Kant. Spinoza and Hegel; not tiU Germany 
on her part had recognised the originality of Comte and 
Spencer and France had by renewed study of Kan 
assimilated in an independent manner the^ f 
.. the critical philosophy. It is thus that we find phdo 
Criticism , . - .. • • .^ tn have becoHie at the ena oi me 

the common sophlCal CritlClSm tO Iiave ut;«.uiic 

^S- entury a common meeting-ground for the philosoph cal 
thought in all the three nations. It is the spirit of the 
Kantian philosophy, only that critical inquiry at the end 
of the nineteenth century starts from beyond the premises 
which seemed to afford a firm foundation and star ing- 
point to Kant himself. The new science of Psychology 
towards which England was the largest contributor^ s 
now cultivated by international co-operation; as like- 
wise the critical examination of the fundamental cone p^ 
tions and axioms in the exact sciences is prosecuted 
Ih equal interest and success in Germany, France an 
Endand In these two original branches of modern 
S£m we see how a deeper level is being rea^ 
from which to start afresh on the solution of the critical 
problem formulated by Kant. -hv^I ^v 

Compared with this international work of cntica ex- 
ploration, the constructive efforts in all three coun^ri. 
though numerous, are nevertheless msignificant. If m the 
writings of the most eminent thinkers of to-day we were to 
strike out all that is purely historical, polemical, and cr^ - 
cal how little would remain ! And yet in this small tot 1 
o constructive effort we can distinguish in the contribu^ 
tLs of the three nations that traditional bia. which 
has in the past been characteristic of their philosophi- 
J ttitudes The English mind, whenever hopelessly 


baffled and perplexed to find a way out of the labyrinth 
of criticism, still resorts to the remedy which Hume so 
graphically describes in the closing pages of the first 
book of his ' Treatise of Human Nature.' 

"Where am I, or what? From what causes do I 
derive my existence, and to what condition shall I 
return ? Whose favour shall I court, and whose anger 
must I dread? What beings surround me? and on 
whom have I any influence, or who have any influence 
on me ? I am confounded with all these questions, and 
begin to fancy myself in the most deplorable condition 
imaginable, environed with the deepest darkness, and 
utterly deprived of the use of every member and faculty. 
Most fortunately it happens that, since reason is incap- 
able of dispelling these clouds, nature herself suffices to 
that purpose, and cures me of this philosophical melan- 
choly and delirium, either by relaxing this bent of mind 
or by some avocation and lively impression of my senses 
which obliterate all these chimeras. I dine, I play a 
game of backgammon, I converse and am merry with my 
friends ; and when, after three or four hours' amusement, 
I would return to these speculations, they appear so cold 
and strained and ridiculous that I cannot find in my 
heart to enter into them any farther." 

To the EngUshman the way out of metaphysics is still 
common-sense, the overwhelming evidence of the things 
around us. One of the latest and greatest of English 
thinkers, Henry Sidgwick, has given expression to this 
feature of the English mind in his "recurrence to the 
philosophy of Thomas Keid. If we turn to France we 
find" a preponderant inclination to revert to those 

i ■'» 




philosophies which are allied to or based upon exact, 
that is, mathematical thought: the philosophies of 
Descartes and Leibniz. Even leaving out the professedly 
positive philosophy of Comte, the French mind, in 
which, as we have seen, the scientific spirit is repre- 
sented in its purest form, is involuntarily drawn to that 
attitude which is characteristic of the exact and natural 
sciences. Now we have seen in the earlier volumes of 
this History how in the course of the nineteenth century 
the method in the sciences has more and more tended to 
become one and the same, whilst the objects and fields 
of scientific research have become more and more diverse 
and widely separated, depending upon an increasing 
division of labour. The process of unification is going 
on from various well-defined centres, with little more 
than a far-off hope of ultimate and complete unification. 
This, however, if viewed philosophically, is the Eclectic 
state of mind in its highest form, which is not that with 
which the celebrated Eclecticism of Victor Cousin was so 
often and perhaps unduly reproved, an uncritical and un- 
methodical assemblage of unreconciled truths ; but rather 
an orderly co-ordination of definite scientific aspects 
which, though preliminary, do not in their preliminary 
character militate against a closer approximation and 
an ultimate harmony. If we now, lastly, turn to German 
Thought, there is no doubt that, while standing on the 
common' critical foundation everywhere recognised, it 
preserves, though to a diminishing extent, its traditional 
idealistic bias. The idealistic temper, though more and 
more overruled at the present time by industrialism and 
imperialism, still forms the ground -note. The ideals 


incorporated in classical literature and the great 
philosophical systems of the first half of the century 
form still for the German thinker the place of refuge 
where he can find shelter and refreshment when he 
is fatigued by too much criticism and disheartened by 
materialism and pessimism. These ideals are still to 
him a real world which, as with Plato in ancient times, 
is spread above the world of common-sense. If we join 
this peculiarity of the German mind to a critical and 
eclectic survey of the facts of nature and history, we 
arrive at that kind of philosophy of which the system of 
Lotze may be considered to be the latest and greatest 














1- I HAVE had in the past many occasions to refer to 
l7dlltL- ^he difference of scientific and philosophical 'thought, 
a'^'in con?^* Entering now on a more detailed review of the progress 
of philosophical thought during the nineteenth century, 
it will be of use to emphasise again this difference. 
Philosophical thought proceeds invariably with the 
object of arriving at a comprehensive view of the sub- 
ject it deals with and ultimately of the totality or 
connection of things.^ Although therefore philosophical 


1 As I shall have repeated occa- 
sion to urge this distinctiou, which 
has become better defined in the 
course of the century, it may be of 
interest to note how two leading 
thinkers in the beginning of our 
period gave expression to this 
idea. Foremost stands Goethe, who 
with remarkable insight uncon- 
sciously anticipated many of the 
leading thoughts of the century 
which followed him. In that well- 
known tract, first published in the 
year 1790, on the * Metamorphosis 
of Plants ' (' Versuch die Metamor- 
phose der Pflanzen zu erklaren,' 

Gotha, 1790), he became a pioneer 
in a line of thought which at that 
time was rare, and which was fully 
recognised only when the pheno- 
mena of descent and environment, 
i.e., of the contiguity in time and 
space or of the "Together" of 
things natural, had been brought 
into view, mainly through Darwin, 
in natural science. In subsequent 
writings, notably in the revision and 
republication of this tract in later 
years, we find a clear expression of 
the two aspects which nature pre- 
sents to the contemplating mind, 
the purely scientific on the one side, 



discussions may lead to matters of detail and confine 
themselves frequently to restricted problems, they would 
cease to be philosophical in the true sense of the word 
if they should rest content with such restricted and 
detailed discussions and not take note of their bearing 
on the great task of the unification of knowledge and 

In that portion of this history which traced the 

the philosophical on the other. " If 
we regard objects of nature, but 
especially those which are living, 
with the intention of gaining an 
insight into the connection of their 
being and acting, we believe that 
the best way to arrive at this is 
through separation of their parts ; 
as indeed this way really leads us a 
good space onward. We need only 
recall to the memory of all friends 
of knowledge what chemistry and 
anatomy have contributed to an in- 
sight and comprehension of nature. 
But these dividing operations, ever 
and ever continued, produce like- 
wise many a disadvantage ; the 
living is indeed analysed into ele- 
ments, but it*" cannot possibly be 
brought together again out of them 
and animated. This is even true 
of many inorganic and not only of 
organic bodies. Accordingly we find 
among scientific persons at all times 
the desire manifesting itself, to 
recognise living things as such, to 
regard their external, visible, and 
tangible parts in their connection, 
to view them as indications of the 
internal, and thus to command, as 
it were, a view of the whole. How 
intimately this desire is connected 
with the artistic and imitative 
tendency need not be elaborately 
pointed out" (*Zur MorpliQlogie^' 
Jena, 1807, Werke, Weimar edition. 
II. Abth., vol. vi. p. 8). In the 
latter sense Goethe has referred to 
the same idea in many passages of 


Ann at 

his morphological writings. The 
second prominent thinker who 
seems to have been impressed with 
this view is Auguste Comte, who 
had moreover the merit of coining 
a term which denotes the difference 
of the two aspects. Already in an 
early tract of the year 1825 (' Con- 
siderations sur les Sciences et les 
Savants'), he employs the term 
esprit fV ensemble^ _ which he con- 
siders has been lost and can only 
be restored again by the posit ive 
philo sophy . It is true that m 
Ills first great work he urges this 
aspect mainly when discussing the 
method of the biological sciences 
as compared with those sciences 
which deal with inorganic nature 
or vnth abstract mechanics. The 
translators of Comte's tract, which 
was reprinted by him at the 
end of the 4th volume of his 
second large work, in the year 1854, 
do not seem to have been able to 
find an English equivalent for this 
term. The best rendering of it 
seems to be that proposed by my 
friend, Prof. W. R. Sorley, viz., 
the synoptical view. The ensemble 
of tilings denotes their actual " To- 
gether" in nature, and is very 
different from that unification 
aimed at by Herbert Spencer and 
successfully carried out in what we 
may, in a restricted sense, call the 
scientific study of nature (see Eng. 
trans, of the 'System of Positive 
Polity, Paris, 1854,' vol. iy. p. 607). 






development of scientific thought during the century, 
I followed an idea most clearly expressed by Herbert 
Spencer, according to which science is partially unified 
thought. There I took up those ideas and aspects 
under the guidance of which a partial unification of 
our knowledge of natural things has become possible. 
]S[ow— in treating of the development of philosophical 
thought— I select those further conceptions which have 
been^used to arrive at a more complete if not an 
ultimate unification of thought. As has already been 
stated in the introductory chapter to this section, these 
further conceptions are not to be found by looking 
around us and outside, but rather by looking inside, by 
introspection. They have become crystallised in certain 
terms or words familiar in all the languages of the 

civilised world. 
3 The conceptions under which we found it convenient 

Conceptions to arrange the historical development of scientific thought 
Srrn.'°' were mostly known already to the ancients. Modern 
times, notably the nineteenth century, have more clearly 
defined them, increasing them indeed by one or two 
additional ideas— such as energy and the doctrine of 
averages. If we now look at the general conceptions, 
expressed in definite words, which have governed modern 
philosophical thought, we are still more struck by the 
fact that they are not of modern origin. Although the 
philosophical vocabulary has in the course of the nine- 
teenth century enormously increased, it cannot be said that 
any novel central idea is to be met with. All that has 
been done by the enrichment of philosophical language 
has been to attain to a clearer definition and under- 



standing of the hidden meaning which underlies those 
time-honoured terms, those traditional expressions which, 
almost from the dawn of thought, have not only governed 
philosophical reasoning but also embody all that is 
most valuable in poetry and literature. These time- 
honoured words describe in fact and tend to fix the 
eternal problems which force themselves upon the human 
mind, denoting its highest interests and aspirations. The 
problems of science may and will change with the pro- 
gress of knowledge, with altered attitudes of thought, and 
with novel practical demands : the great problems of 
philosophy remain always the same. With the intention 
of emphasising this, as also with the desire to accom- 
modate myself to the usage of language and common- 
sense and the interests of all intelligent readers, I 
propose to arrange my narrative of the courses and 
development of philosophical thought under well-known 
words or terms which will, without special definition, 
introduce us into discussions which have always been, 
and still are, of foremost importance. Such words, 
e.g., as the Soul, Truth or Knowledge, Keality, Nature, marking 
Duty, Beauty, the Spirit, Society, &c., convey to the l^^^^^^ 
mind of every thinking person, without any laboured p^^^^™*- 
definition, an idea of some momentous subject imme- 
diately connected with our deepest interests and prac- 
tical endeavours. The whole of philosophical thought 
can thus be arranged as the attempt to answer such 
questions as, What is the Soul ? What is meant by 
truth, duty, reality, &c. ? The adoption of such famihar 
words will serve a double purpose. It will connect 
philosophical thought with general literature and lan- 








guage, neither of which can dispense with them; and 
it will also, to many minds, suggest a second very 
obvious reflection : a moment's thought will convince us 
that it is almost impossible to discuss separately any 
of the great problems indicated by those words; that 
the discussion of each leads involuntariky to that of 
the others, driving us onward to the conception of the 
Whole, the All, i.e., to the discussion of the world- 
problem, the connection or actual " Together " of things. 
This is the highest, the central philosophical problem, 
the attempted solutions of which in the course of the 
nineteenth century I shall deal with in one of the 
last chapters of the present portion of this History. 
It will appropriately bear the title : " Of Systems of 


I have headed this first chapter which deals with a 
^Jhr'^'" definite philosophical problem : " Of the Soul." I might 
?8ychoiog>'. have chosen several other words which would have 
equally introduced us into that portion of philosophical 
literature with which I am now concerned. Such terms 
would be, e.g., the mind, consciousness, the inner world, 
&c. The province of philosophy with which I am deal- 
ing is usually in recent literature called Psychology. 
The oldest treatise on the subject is that of Aristotle, 
which bears the title Trepl -i^yxv^, I^e Anima. I have 
preferred to introduce the subject of this chapter by 
using the original term, which at once suggests pro- 
blems, such as the nature of the soul, the fate of the 
soul, the whereabouts of the soul, and many others 
which command a continued interest, denoting some of 
the deepest questions which inquiring and thinking 




persons may put to the philosopher. In the beginning 
of the century, both the word soul and the term 
Psychology were more frequent in the philosophical 
literature of Germany than they were in that of France 
or England. In the two latter countries, treatises on 
similar subjects were more commonly put forth under 
such titles as : On man. On the human mind, &c. ; the 
word soul being more generally reserved for discussions 
referring to what we may term the emotional and 
spiritual side of human nature. That I nevertheless 6. 

The 'Seelen- 

prefer to speak of the soul and not of the human frage.' 
mind or human nature, may be justified by the fact that 
the word soul introduces us at once into an historical 
discussion, which took place in the middle of the century 
in Germany, and which may be considered to mark one of 
the great changes that have come over our way of regard- 
ing all questions connected with the mental life.^ What 

^ A good account of this con- 
troversy is given by F. A. Lange in 
his celebrated ' History of Material- 
ism ' already referred to. This 
history traces the materialistic hy- 
pothesis from its beginnings in 
ancient philosophy, where it found 
a brilliant exposition in Lucretius' 
celebrated poem on the * Nature of 
Things.' Lange then sets out the 
revival of materialism as it accom- 
panied the rise of the modern 
scientific spirit, following it through 
the writings of Gassendi on the 
Continent and Hobbes in England, 
the peculiar combination of scientific 
materialism with religious belief in 
Boyle and Newton, in Hartley and 
Priestley, and its dying out in the 
writings of Toland in the course of 
the eighteenth century. From 
England the materialistic move- 
ment of thought spread into France, 

where it received a classical ex- 
pression in the works of La Mettrie 
and Holbach. In Germany the 
great influence of Leibniz counter- 
acted for a long time the material- 
istic in favour of a spiritualistic 
view ; materialism, however, gained 
a permanent foothold in German 
thought in the middle of the nine- 
teenth century, and this, under the 
influence of two distinct lines of 
thought. The first was that of 
French medical science, dating back 
to the writings of Cabanis and 
Broussais, and continued through 
Flourens, Magendie, Longet, and 
others. The second came quite 
independently through the reaction 
against the idealistic systems of 
Schelling and Hegel as well as 
through the development of cer- 
tain elements in these. The philo- 
sopher who brought these in- 



11 f; 








was called at the time " Die Seelenfrage " occupied the 
foremost place in philosophical discussions carried on 
both by philosophers and by naturalists. Psychology 
(in German " Seelenlehre ") formed a kind of reaction 
in the writings of Herbart and Beneke against the then 
ruling philosophy of the mind, and, on the other side, it 
embodied, as notably in the writings of Lotze, the 
matured discussion of the materialistic hypothesis ad- 
vanced by Vogt, Moleschott, and Buchner. As the 
stormy discussions which- were then carried on in 

fluences together was Lotze, who 
early recognised quite as much the 
necessity of purifying the prin- 
ciples of the biological and medical 
sciences as of gaining an indepen- 
dent foundation for an idealistic or 
spiritual view of things. In the 
former endeavour he went further 
than contemporary French thinkers 
by combating the conception of 
vital forces current among them. 
His connection with Rudolph 
Wagner as a contributor to the 
physiological dictionary edited by 
the latter, and as his colleague at 
the University of Gottingen, made 
this side of his writings accessible to 
medical students, whereas his sim- 
ultaneous metaphysical and logical 
treatises (see p. 6 note, supra) re- 
mained unknown. The result has 
been that Lotze may be considered 
as having, in a way, both suggested 
and combated the extreme materi- 
alistic conception, being, later on, 
its most competent and thorough- 
going critic and opponent. The 
principal writings in which Ger- 
man materialism found expression 
are Moleschott (1822-93), ' Der 
Kreislauf des Lebens ' (1852, fre- 
quently re-edited and enlarged) ; 
Karl Vogt (1817-95), 'Physiolo- 
gische Briefe' (1845-47), 'Bilder 
aus dem Thierleben' (1852), and 

' Kohlerglaube und Wissenschaft ' 
1854). The former was provoked 
by and opposed certain passages in 
Liebig's 'Chemical Letters,' the lat- 
ter bore a similar relation to Wag- 
ner's 'Physiologische Briefe' (1852). 
The whole question led to a celebrat- 
ed discussion at the German Natur- 
f orscher-Versammlung at Gottingen 
in 1854, where Wagner expressed 
himself in favour of a dualistic con- 
ception of nature, allowing both for 
mechanism and spiritualism— a view 
ridiculed by Vogt as a kind of 
philosophical "book-keeping by 
double entry." It created a flood 
of literature on both sides. Lud- 
wig Biichner (1824-99) followed 
in 1855 with his well-known, fre- 
quently republished and translated 
treatise, ' Kraft und StofE,' which 
held its own in Germany as the 
gospel of materialism till it was 
followed, and to some extent super- 
seded, by Ernst Hackel's 'Welt- 
rathsel ' (1899, and many following 
editions). There is no doubt that 
these two books have successfully 
originated and perpetuated among 
the middle class intellect of Ger- 
many not only philosophical mater- 
ialism, but also a material as opposed 
to an ideal and spiritual view of the 
world and life. 

Germany, and which were echoed in a more sober 
manner in French and English literature, mark probably 
one of the most important changes that have come 
over philosophical thought in the course of the century, 
it seems appropriate to start the history of philosophical 
thought with an account of the problems which centre 
in the word soul.^ 

^ In order to assist my readers, 
I anticipate what will be more fully 
explained in this and following 
chapters, by defining the great 
change which I refer to in the 
text, in a telling phrase invented 
by Lange. He speaks of a "psy- 
chology without a soul. " This truly 
indicates the position which most 
English psychologists before the 
middle of the century had already 
— though unconsciously and gener- 
ally without denying the existence 
of the soul — adopted, and which 
has become almost universal among 
psychologists since that time. It 
corresponds to similar positions 
taken up in physics and biology 
since they have submitted to rigor- 
ous scientific treatment. The 
former does not now concern itself 
with a definition of matter nor the 
latter with a definition of life ; see, 
e.g., the Appendix to P. G. Tait's 
'Properties of Matter,' quoted in 
an earlier volume of this History 
(vol. ii. pp. 388-425), and Huxley's 
article on " Biology " in the 9th ed. of 
the ' Ency. Brit. ' Earlier biologists, 
such as Cuvier, attempted to give 
a definition of life. This task, as 
also the definition of matter, is now 
admitted to be not a scientific but 
a philosophical problem. In the 
same way, since psychologists have 
very generally put aside the ques- 
tion as to the essence of the soul, 
confining themselves to the descrip- 
tion of psychical processes and 
phenomena, psychology has become 
au independent science, and is, as 
such, an introduction to, but hardly 

a branch of, philosophy. It is, 
however, well to remark, that we 
have in Germany a prominent ex- 
ponent of the older position in Prof. 
J. Rehmke ; see notably his small 
treatise, 'Die Seele des Menschen' 
(3rd ed. 1909), which is divided 
into two sections on the " Essence " 
and on the "Life of the Soul." 
Whilst revising the text of this 
chapter, which was written six 
years ago, I came across Prof. 
Henri Bergson's " Huxley Lecture " 
(delivered in Birmingham, 29th May 
1911), and also the Report of his 
four Lectures "On the Soul," de- 
livered October 1911 at University 
College, London. In the first- 
named lecture he complains that 
philosophers have gone away from 
vital questions such as : "What are 
we ? " " What are we doing here ? " 
" Whence do we come and whither 
do we go ?" (see ' Hibbert Journal,' 
October 1911, p. 24). Accordingly, 
M. Bergson, ever since the appear- 
ance of his two earlier works (' Les 
Donn^es Imm^diates de la Con- 
science,' 1889, and 'Mati^re et 
M^moire,' 1896), has been consid- 
ered to represent a new school of 
psychology ; see, e.g. , M. Boirac in 
the * Grande Encyclopddie,' article 
" Psychologic" : " Bergson et toute 
la jeune dcole qui le suit, maintien- 
nent ^nergiquement I'ind^pendance 
et I'originalit^ de la psychologic en 
face des sciences proprement dites 
auxqucUes on ne pent, selon eux, 
I'assimiler sans la defigurer ou 
plutot sans la ddtruire." 








in this. 

The' discussions which centred in the materialistic 
controversy referred really to three separate problems 
which at the time were not kept sufficiently distinct. 
These problems were familiar to philosophical writers 
in all the three countries before the middle of the 
century, but it is useful to note that each of the 
philosophical literatures had been occupied up to the 
middle of the century pre-eminently with one out of 
the three problems. After the middle of the century, 
and no doubt to a large extent owing to the vehemence 
with which the controversy had been carried on in 
Germany, thinkers in each of the three countries found 
it necessary to take up a definite position with regard to 
all the three questions involved. In stating separately 
these questions as they have been more clearly defined in 
the course of the last fifty years, we shall at the same 
time acquire some insight into the separate character 
of French, German, and English thought during the first 

half of the century. 

To begin with, the older German philosophy of the 

a eighteenth century had already distinguished two kinds 

fSSiai of Psychology, i.e., two ways of acquiring knowledge on 

psychology. ^^^^^^ connected with the Soul or the inner life. 

Calling the doctrine which embraced these subjects 

"Psychology,"^ it distinguished between Empirical and 

1 The term seems to occur for 
the first time in Germany, where 
Rudolph Gockel, or Goclenius 
(1547-1628), Professor at Marburg, 
published towards the end of the 
sixteenth century a work with the 
title MnrXOAOriA. On this Mr 
Whittaker remarks: *'I have met 
with the information that ^\/vxo\oyia 
first occurs in a false reading in 

Proclus. The true reading, if I 
remember rightly, is rpvxoyovia. 
Goclenius may have picked up the 
^ord — at first or second hand— 
from Proclus ; for in fact he ap- 
plies it to the discussions which he 
has brought together on the old 
question of 'The generation of 
the soul.' If this conjecture is 
right, it is very curious; the 



Eational Psychology. Empirical Psychology professed to 
give a description of the inner or mental life, and in 
doing so it confined itself mostly to such methods and 
statements, and to the use of such terms as had already 
been laid down in Aristotle's celebrated treatise. This 
Empirical Psychology had been cultivated not so 
much in a methodical manner as by popular writings, 
among which the most brilliant were furnished by the 
French moralists from Montaigne and Pascal, through 
La Eochefoucauld and La Bruyere, down to Eousseau 
and Diderot. Lectures on this subject belonged to the 
recognised course of German University studies, and 
were as such delivered also by Kant, who — except for 
the distinction between thinking, feeling, and willing, to 
which he gave its subsequent importance by adopting 
it from Tetens — did not add anything very novel 
to the subject. Besides this Empirical Psychology, 
there was another definite philosophical science which 
was termed Eational Psychology; this treated of the 
highest questions, such as the nature of the soul, its 
fate, its destiny, its origin and future. It formed 
together with Cosmology and Eational Theology that 
large branch of philosophical inquiry which went 
under the name of Metaphysics. The relation of em- 
pirical and rational psychology may be compared with 
the relation which exists for instance between a treatise 
on the nature of things (such as the great poem of 

names * psychology ' and * meta- i literature before the nineteenth 

physics' — both so exactly adapted 
to the subjects — would have come 
in alike by a sort of historical 
accident." The word did not be- 
come current in French or English 

century, and seems to have been 
introduced into the latter through 
Coleridge's connection with Ger- 
many, and into the former in the 
school of Victor Cousin. 






H ■ 


At the 
beginning of 
the century 
studied in 



Lucretius or the recent Philosophy of Nature of Schelling's 
school) and the modern natural philosophy which has 
grown up since the time of Galileo and Newton. Em- 
pirical psychology dealt with detailed facts and pheno- 
mena in the life of the soul, rational psychology dealt 
with questions of principle and with fundamentals. 
Whilst in Germany, up to the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century, little methodical work was done in 
empirical psychology, English, and notably Scotch, 
thinkers had devoted themselves almost exclusively to 
the cultivation of this field; many works of lasting 
merit having appeared, among which those of Thos. Keid 
and Dugald Stewart as representative of Scottish, of 
David Hartley and James Mill as representative of 
English, philosophy are prominent.^ We may therefore 
say that in the beginning of the nineteenth century 

1 One of the most popular repre- 
sentatives of Scottish philosophy 
in the nineteenth century was 
Thos. Brown, whose Lectures were 
published in four volumes after his 
death in 1832, and had a wide in- 
fluence, running through nineteen 
editions. It seems, however, that 
he was less original than his popular 
reputation would suggest, having 
borrowed much from contemporary 
French writers, notably from Des- 
tutt de Tracy, as has been re- 
marked by Sir Wm. Hamilton, and 
more recently by M. Picavet ('Les 
Ideologues,' 1891, p. 494 ; also ar- 
ticle, "Thomas Brown," in the 
•Grande Encyclopedic*). With him 
occurs the term "physiology of 
the human mind," as expressive of 
what we now term Psychology, 
which may have been suggested as 
much through his acquaintance 
with French thought— a work with 
the title ' Physiologie de TEsprit' 

having been published by M. 
Paulhan — as by his professional 
medical studies. He laid great 
emphasis upon the muscular sense, 
or sense of resistance, distinguishing 
it from touch, as an additional or 
sixth sense, and it is in connection 
with this much controverted point 
that his name still occurs in recent 
psychological literature. There is 
a short but appreciative notice of 
him by the late Prof. R. Adamson 
in the ninth edition of the * Ency. 
Brit.' It is interesting to see how 
two very different thinkers (Brown 
and Lotze), both starting from 
medical studies, should have de- 
scribed their psychology as "Physi- 
ology of the human mind" or the 
soul. In more recent times the 
importance of Brown's philosophy 
has again been insisted on by Prof. 
Stout who, in a valuable series of 
articles ('Mind,' vols. 13 and 14) 
on Herbart and the difference of 




rational psychology had its home in Germany, empirical 
psychology in Great Britain. In addition to these two 
branches of research appertaining to the things of the 
inner world, to the life of the soul, a third and 
independent line of research had sprung up in France as 
the immediate outcome of the great development of the 
mathematical, natural, and medical sciences. The life 

' . French 

of the soul was there studied in its outer manifestations, vW^^- 
partly as a physiological and pathological ^ problem, psychology, 
partly also in those creations such as language, grammar, 
and logic, in which it has become, as it were, externalised. 
Cabanis and Broussais are representatives of the former, 
the Ideologues, notably Destutt de Tracy, of the latter 
way of thinking. The French school as represented by 
these thinkers preserved accordingly its independent 
position, whether compared with the purely introspec- 
tive psychology in this country or with the meta- 
physical psychology of Germany. It took up such an 
extreme position, notably in the writings of Broussais, 
and was frequently supposed to be so much allied with 
materialism, that it provoked as much as it opposed the 
reaction which adopted the more moderate or common- 
sense attitude of the Scottish school ; it was later also 
much influenced by some of the leading German meta- 

his psychology from that of the 
British or Associational school, 
has singled out Brown's exposi- 
tion of the latter as deserving 
prominence, "because he expressly 
discusses and formulates many 
ultimate principles which in other 
writers are more or less blindly 
presupposed" (loc. cit., vol. xiv. 
p. 1). 

1 D. de Tracy in his *Eloge de 
Cabanis,' whose place he took in 
the Academy (1808), ventured to 
say that Cabanis had performed 
the double task which he had set 
himself, of carrying philosophy 
into medicine and medicine into 
philosophy (see Picavet, loc. cit., 
p. 288). 






physicians. It allied itself with the political tendencies 
of the Kestoration. 

These three distinct ways of approaching the pheno- 
mena of the inner world, i.e., the life of the soul, came 
together in Germany and asserted themselves with equal 
strength about the fourth decade of the century, when 
after the death of Hegel the exclusive dominion of the 
metaphysical method began to be attacked. The most 
powerful and persistent opposition was carried on by 
Johann Friedrich Herba^yi'm-^^^ But, although 

Herbart through his psychological writings did probably 
more than any other German philosopher of that period 
to counteract the one-sided idealism which then ruled 
supreme, he did not break with the metaphysical method : 
he still put into the foreground of his psychology defini- 
tions regarding the nature and the location of the soul. 
Inasmuch, however, as his psychological interest was 
primarily educational, and as in his early practical 
experience he had come in contact with the realistic 
tendencies of that great school of educationalists which 
was headed by Pestalozzi, he imported into his meta- 
physics a much greater knowledge and appreciation of 
actual realities than was to be found among his opponents. 
Accordingly he_callsjiis.^phibspphy.,5e^^ maintaining 

that the main task of philosophy consists in a process 
of elaborating consistent ideas out of the frequently in- 
consistent and contradictory conceptions which are 
furnished by experience and common-sense. Philosophy 
was, so to speak, a clarifying process, the endeavour to 
arrive at clear and consistent notions. In his text-book 
of Psychology which was published in 1816, and still 

more in his 'Scientific Psychology' (1824), he em- 
phasised experience as the main foundation of the 
doctrine of the soul, but he significantly added to this 
principal foundation also metaphysics and mathematics. 
The object of the metaphysical inquiry was to arrive at a 
clear and consistent notion of the essence of the soul. 
The mathematical treatment was introduced in analogy 
with the then current mechanical foundations which had 
been gained for the physical sciences. Impressed with 
the fact that the inner life consisted in a continual move- 
ment of ideas (called in German Vorstellungen ^), which 

^ It is probably through Herbart's 
influence that the recent school of 
introspective psychology in Eng- 
land, of which Prof. James Ward 
may be considered the leader and 
Prof. Stout the best known repre- 
sentative, has abandoned the older 
term Ideas — used since the time of 
Locke — for the more appropriate 
term Presentations. It is evidently 
a translation of the German "Vor- 
stellungen," and permits of introduc- 
ing the distinction between the 
mental fact or process of presenting 
and that which is presented ; cor- 
responding to the double meaning 
of the word * * Vorstellung " as a 
psychical phenomenon on the one 
side and its definite content on the 
other. To a foreigner the use of 
the term "Vorstellungen" in Her- 
bart's psychology with its two 
aspects occasions as much difficulty, 
wliilst it affords at the same time as 
much helpful insight, as the term 
"Anschauung" in the philosophy of 
Kant and some of his successors. 
The rendering of the latter term by 
intuition was much less successful 
than the rendering of the former by 
presentation. Both terms have this 
in common, that they suggest a 
double aspect. "A presentation 
may be considered in two points of 

view, either as having intrinsically 
a certain qualitative content, or, 
mechanically, as a condition of 
change in the total mental system 
of which it forms a part. It is in 
the former way, not in the latter, 
that presentations are usually re- 
garded by all who are not students 
of psychology. From this point of 
view, attention is fixed either on re- 
semblance and difference and other 
relations constitutive of the pres- 
ented content, or on its relation 
to objects which it is in some way 
supposed to represent. In either 
case there will appear to be an 
entire absence of anything that can 
be called agency in the presenta- 
tions considered. Variations in our 
idea of a thing do not alter the 
thing itself, and resemblance and 
difference are not in any sense 
modes of interaction. Most persons 
find it difficult to grasp the con- 
ception of a psychological mechan- 
ism, because they habitually regard 
presentations purely as having a 
presented content. Nevertheless, 
the mechanical standpoint is a 
legitimate one, provided that its 
nature and limitations are duly 
recognised. Presentations act and 
react on each other in manifold 
ways. They exclude each other 

H f:i 



rise, vanish, and chase each other, he conceived the plan of 
a psychical mechanics, divided into statics and dynamics. 
To these processes, i.e., the conflict of ideas in the soul, 
he attempted to apply mathematical calculation through 
which the resultant intensities of the different ideas 
could be ascertained. Although the elaborate scheme of 
Herbart has in the main been abandoned, there is no 
doubt that he left upon German Psychology lasting marks 
of his work in two distinct directions. With an eye for 
the continual change and movement of ideas within the 
human soul, he attached much more importance to the 
tracing of this dynamical process than to a rigorous 
definition of the faculties of the soul, which was then 
current and which had been adopted even by Kant. 
Herbart probably did more than any other contempora- 
neous thinker to destroy the old faculty -psychology in 
Germany.^ And secondly, in looking upon the conscious 

from distinct consciousness, they 
reproduce each other, they sup- 
port each other, and so forth. 
Now, the clear recognition of this 
distinction between presented and 
mechanical relation forms a leading 
feature in Herbart's psychology. 
He has embodied it in his use of the 
terms Presentative Activity and 
Presented Content, and he has 
made it the basis of his general 
method in dealing with psychologi- 
cal problems. He is perpetually 
inquiring what connection of pres- 
entative activities corresponds 
either to a certain connection of 
presented contents, or to feelings of 
pleasure and pain, or to desire. 
Now, if we turn to English writers, 
we meet with traces, but traces 
only, of this distinction. Nowhere 
do we find a thorough and con- 
sistent application of it, such as 

characterises the Herbartian sys- 
tem " (Stout in his article on 
" Herbart compared with English 
Psychologists," 'Mind,' vol. xiv. 
p. 2). It is interesting to see that 
a similar position is taken up by 
Renouvier in the Ist ed. of the 
' Critique Generale' (part 1, sec. iii.) : 
**Ce qui frappe d'abord dans la 
representation, ce qui en est le car- 
actere determinatif , c'est qu'elle est 
k double face et ne peut se repre- 
senter h elle-meme que bilaterale. 
Ces deux elements que toute rep- 
resentation suppose, je les signale 
et ne les d^finis pas en les nora- 
mant Tun representatif et I'autre 

1 Herbart seems to have been led 
to his pecuUar view through the 
influence of Fichte, who conceived 
of the mind as an original, assertive, 
and creative agent. Herbart, how- 



inner life as the playground of rising and vanishing ideas, 
he introduced the conception of the limit or threshold of conceptions 
consciousness, suggesting through this, if not elaborating, ^y nSrt. 
an idea which has since been variously worked out : that 
of the unconscious, the subconscious, and the subliminal. 
In addition to this, Herbart urged the necessity of 
conducting psychological inquiries by the exact method 
of observation, measurement, and calculation, and although 
he did not succeed in this endeavour he had a clear 
notion of what would be required in order to convert 



ever, did not follow Fichte in his 
process of abstract thought through 
which the term Mind (Self or Ego) 
ceases to denote the individual and 
becomes a general or absolute mind, 
for Herbart was as much influenced 
by the individualism of Leibniz. 
He confines his ontology and psycho- 
logy to that of individual beings, 
considering the conception of a 
general or absolute mind as an il- 
legitimate abstraction. According- 
ly he consistently opposes the 
higher Hegelian logic and psycho- 
logy which, as it were, represents the 
life and thought of the Absolute, 
and he confines himself to the lower 
or formal logic, and to the psycho- 
logy of individual human minds. 
The principal difierence which 
existed between Herbart's psycho- 
logical position and that of con- 
temporary thinkers in this country 
was that Herbart, quite as much as 
the Idealists whom he opposed, came 
to psychology from the metaphysical 
point of view, i.e., from the dis- 
cussion of the problem of reality. 
This problem hardly existed for 
English and Scotch thinkers at that 
time. The Idealists, however, did 
not apply their metaphysical solu- 
tions of the problem of reality to 
that special reality which we call 
the Soul or the inner personal life 

of the individual, but dealt rather 
with cosmological and theological 
problems, as also with problems of 
human history and society. On the 
other side, the early educational 
interests of Herbart led him back to 
views current in the Leibniz- Wolffian 
school, which did not lose sight of 
the existence and independence of 
a plurality of individuals in the con- 
ception of an underlying unity 
or substance after the model of 
Spinoza. A new problem, however, 
existed for Herbart as it already 
existed for Leibniz — how is the 
plurality of existing beings (called 
by Herbart, "Reals ") to be recon- 
ciled with the universal order ? 
Leibniz had solved this problem in 
his " Monadology" by the concep- 
tion of a central monad and tlie 
theory of a pre-established har- 
mony. This solution Herbart does 
not adopt. For him the unity or 
order of the existing things and 
beings is that of a system, and as 
such he also conceives of the uuity 
of mental life. This idea of a sys- 
tematic unity, as differing from that 
of a substantial unity, has since the 
time of Herbart, and probably much 
through his influence, gained ground 
in modern psychology both in this 
country a aid abroad. 

! ' 








psychology into an exact science. His followers in con- 
sequence adopted this term as characteristic of Herbart's 
school, and started in the year 1861 a periodical for 
exact philosophy. Of other developments which had 
their origin in Herbart's psychology I shall speak 

further on. 

Almost simultaneously another German psychologist 
started in direct opposition to the current idealistic 
philosophy. This was Friedrich Eduard Beneke ^ (l798- 
1854). He did not succeed in impressing the German 
mind in the same way as Herbart had done, or in influ- 
encing philosophical thought. Yet he deserves to be 
specially mentioned in this connection as the only 
genuine representative in Germany of that important 
and original psychological school which had its origin in 

1 Beneke was influenced as much 
as Herbart by an educational in- 
terest, but he differs from Herbart, 
with whom he agrees in his opposi- 
tion to idealism, by discarding all 
preliminary metaphysical discus- 
sions. For him psychology is the 
main part and foundation of all 
philosophy — much in the same way 
as philosophy of the human mind 
was considered in this country. 
The publication in 1822 of a work 
on ' Physics (not metaphysics) 
of Morality' (' Grundlegung zur 
Physik der Sitten'), drew after it 
the prohibition of his lecturing at 
the Berlin University, where he had, 
though unsupported by an ofi&cial 
position, gathered a considerable 
audience. Beneke received verb- 
ally from the Minister Altenstein 
*'an explanation that it was not 
single passages which had given 
offence, but the whole scheme, and 
that a philosophy which did not de- 
duce everything from the Absolute 

could not be considered to be philo- 
sophy at all" (see Hertlingin 'Allge- 
meine Deutsche Biographie,' article 
" Beneke "). The supposition that 
Hegel personally influenced this re- 
markable decision can, according to 
Kuno Fischer (* Hegel's Leben,' &c., 
vol. i. p. 156), not be proved. It is 
rather a testimony to the enormous 
weight which Hegel's line of thought 
possessed in the eyes of statesmen 
like Altenstein, Johannes Schulze, 
and others. Beneke's view can be 
summed up in the statement that 
" the soul is a system of forces or fac- 
ulties, under which name we have not 
to think of the faculties of the older 
psychology but of a systematic and 
completely unified complex" (ibid., 
vol. ii. p. 328). We are indebted 
to Prof. Stout for the first compre- 
hensive appreciation in this country 
of Beneke's as well as of Herbart's 
psychology in his articles in ' Mind 
referred to above. 





this country,^ where, up to the present day, it has pre- 
served its fundamental characteristics, exhibiting an 
unbroken historical continuity. This is the genuinely 
introspective school of psychology. Its greatest repre- ^^^^-.^^^ 
sentatives during the first two-thirds of the century are P^y^^^^ioey- 
James Mill and Alexander Bain. Before entering on an 


1 Beneke differed from Kant inas- 
much as he did not admit that 
knowledge of mental phenomena or 
sUtes revealed to us by the inner 
sense was merely phenomenal, as is 
the case with our knowledge of ex- 
ternal things through the outer 
senses. On the contrary, he re- 
duces all knowledge to that afforded 
by introspection and dealt with in 
empirical psychology. He there- 
fore agrees to a large extent with 
English thinkers of the Associa- 
tional school " on two fundamental 
points — (1) the dependence of all 
other branches of philosophy on 
psychology ; (2) the dependence of 
psychology on introspection and, in 
the last resort, on introspection 
only. These capital points of agree- 
ment with English thinkers are at 
the same time capital points of dis- 
agreement between him and Her- 
bart. Further traces of English 
influence in Beneke are perhaps to 
be found in his assiduous study of 
all facts likely to throw light on 
psychological problems, and at times 
also in his treatment of special 
questions. It must, however, be 
confessed that there was one lesson 
which he failed to learn from his 
favourite English writers. He did 
not learn from them to be cautious. 
. . . He claimed with reason the 
right of framing hypotheses to ex- 
plain observed facts. But he pushed 
his hypotheses far beyond what the 
exigencies of psychological explana- 
tion required. . . . Nevertheless, it 
is right to treat him as a kind of 
link between English associational 
psychology on the one hand, and 


the psychology of Herbart on the 
other" (Stout, 'Mind,' vol. xiv. p. 
25, &c.) The fact that Beneke did 
not accept the older view which 
considered the soul or mind as pos- 
sessed of different faculties, but 
reduced the latter to mere disposi- 
tions which had to be developed by 
external stimuli, made his teaching 
even more acceptable than that 
of Herbart to educationalists ; for 
the task of education as well as its 
value was clearly defined and em- 
phasised. He had, accordingly, a 
considerable following among educa- 
tionahsts in Germany. On the 
other hand, von Hartmann empha- 
sises the fact that ' ' Beneke did not 
content himself with pointing to 
introspective phenomena as afford- 
ing a secure and certain starting- 
point for psychology and philosophy, 
but that he went behind the phe- 
nomenal i n search of u ncpjaacious 
origins and dispositions for the 
existence of which he could offer no 
empirical or metaphysical proof* 
('Die Modeme Psychologie,' 1901, 
p. 11). There is, however, no 
doubt that Beneke's acceptance of 
psychical experience as ultimate 
and self-evident — giving the only 
knowledge of reality accessible to 
the human mind — is akin to a view 
which has found expression in quite 
recent times, though it can only be 
upheld by an altered conception of 
reality. Fr. Ueberweg (1826-71), 
the well-known historian of phil- 
osophy, was much influenced by 
Beneke, as notably in his ' System 
of Logic' (English translation by 
J. M. Lindsay, 1871). 


f I 





account of this school, to which we probably owe the 
greater part of the important psychological work of the 
century, it may be interesting to refer briefly to the 
causes which prevented the purely introspective methods 
of psychology from ever receiving due recognition in 
Germany. The reason will probably be found in what 
may be called the essentially metaphysical turn of the 
German mind. The principal aim of all prominent 
thinkers in Germany down to the present day is to 
arrive at first principles, to lay firm foundations of know- 
ledge and practice. This has seemed a necessary requisite 
because, ever since, through the political and ecclesiasti- 
cal wars and controversies which followed the Keforma- 
tion and accompanied the Kevolution in Germany, not 
only the material progress of the nation had been 
arrested, the historical traditions and foundations of 
society destroyed, but also the fundamental beliefs criti- 
cised and variously attacked. This general unsettle- 
ment in the political, economical, social, and religious 
world urged upon thinkers as their first and paramount 
duty the laying and perfecting of solid foundations and 
principles. This was the task which Descartes had set 
himself in France, and which Leibniz, though in a less 
systematic manner, took up for the first time in Germany 
at the end of the seventeenth century. It has been con- 
sidered as such by all prominent German thinkers down 
to the present day. It was most distinctly put forward 
by Kant and his immediate followers, and not less by 
those who stood in opposition than by those who 
professed to follow the lines which he had indicated. 
So far as the special branch of philosophy with which 

! '"I 

I am now concerned is affected, it might have appeared 

natural if the desire to make psychology, or the doctrine 

of the soul, a definite science, should have led out of 

metaphysics through observation of facts to that exact 

treatment which Herbart foreshadowed and which has 

to some extent — though on other lines — been realised 

in our days. Instead of that, the intermediate phase 

between the metaphysical and the exact treatrngjit was, 

with the exception of Beneke, l eft out^ at the time. 

With the intention of arriving at the foundation of a 

reasoned or rational creed, and with the distinct assertion 

that the idealistic systems had failed to do so, it seemed 

natural to the German mind to take up those principles 

which had proved to be of such value in the exact and 

natural sciences. These had at the time of the collapse 

of the ruling idealistic philosophy attained to great 

prominence at some of the German universities ; a new 

science, that of Ph ysiology , had been founded by German 

thinkers, and great practical results in medical and 

industrial practice had already resulted mainly through 

the efforts of J ohann es MuUer and Liebig. To many 

enthusiastic inquirers and forceful minds nothing seemed 

simpler than to elevate the supposed elementary notions 

with which the natural sciences operated and which 17. 

were in current use, such as matter and force, to the to base 


rank of fundamental principles for the mental sciences oneie- 

^ ^ mentary 

or even to that of articles of a new creed.^ The errors principles. 

^ It may be well to remark here ence being mainly this, that it was 

that to follow the example of the the method and practice rather 

natural sciences had been likewise than the principles of the natural 

the aim of the representatives of sciences which recommended them- 

mental philosophy in this country selves to British thinkers. This 

at a much earlier date ; the differ- , opened out the large field of ex- 


Errors of 
this pro- 



which were committed by the logic of these thinkers 
were manifold, but two of them may be singled out not 
only as fatal to ultimate success but also as highly 
dangerous, inasmuch as their seductive nature prevented 
them from being readily detected, and because they were 
extremely difficult to destroy when once the popular 
understanding had given them an entry. 

To begin with, the terms matter and force referred to 
notions which might appear clear to the popular mind, 
inasmuch as they were in daily use in common language, 
and as such seemed to convey a definite meaning. It 
was therefore an irony of fate that just about the 
time when these terms were placed at the head of a new 
philosophy and made the foundations, as it were, of a new 
creed, these same terms were being discarded from strict 
scientific treatises, and others being introduced which 
were capable of rigorous definition. The term matter 
was to be replaced in dynamical treatises by the word 
mass or inertia, and the word force had to give way 
to the less equivocal term, energy. Both mass and 
energy could be mathematically defined in terms of the 

perience and observation, whereas 
the introduction of the so-called 
principles or fundamental notions 
of physics and chemistry led rather 
to an abstract and contracted view 
of mental phenomena, to hasty 
generalisations, and, in the end, to 
purely verbal distinctions. In this 
country, in spite of the fact that the 
principles of exact science, the laws 
of motion, were first laid down and 
clearly defined in the * Principia ' of 
Newton, little was done to examine 
clearly and to define the range of 
applicability of these principles. 
Natural science was limited almost 
exclusively to observation and ex- 

periment. It was only through the 
French mathematicians, in the 
course of the eighteenth century, 
that the Newtonian principles were 
more clearly brought out, and only 
through Lavoisier that the con- 
servation of mass, or rather the 
constancy of the weight of bodies, 
was made the foundation of modern 
chemistry. In Germany, on the 
other hand, the principles of dy- 
namical and physical research were 
discussed in a philosophical spirit 
by Leibniz, in whom the tendency 
of the German mind to deal with 
fundamental questions was for the 
first time clearly exhibited. 




measurable quantities, time, space, and velocity. It be- 
came quite clear in the course of the controversies carried 
on between the years 1840 and 1870, that the familiar 
term matter was not clearly definable, and that the word 
force was used to denote two entirely different con- 
ceptions. It was therefore unfortunate that in dealing 
with psychological questions, with things pertaining to 
the soul, two conceptions were placed at the head of the 
new doctrine which could not stand the test of rigorous 
definition. 1 The second error committed by the new 
school of thought was this, that in spite of all criticism 
which they rightly levelled against the vagueness of 
the older philosophy, they did not really break with 
the metaphysical method and resort to that method 
suc^aested by Beneke and to some extent by Herbart, 
the empirical method of introspectiQii, but simply con- 
tinued, on a lower plane, the same sort of abstract 
and a priori reasoning which they condemned in their 
opponents. By the time that this inherent defect of 
both idealism and materialism was recognised, another 
way had been opened by which access could be gained 
to the phenomena of the inner world: this was the 
method that studied them in their concomitant, physical 
and physiological manifestations. As I showed in former 
chapters,^ the phenomena of consciousness began to be 
studied from the physiological side. 

In the meantime, and only slightly influenced by 
German metaphysics, the introspective mode of dealing 

^ For a further discussion of the 
value of the fundamental notions 
of physical science for philosophical 
purposes, see chapter vi., infraf 

which deals with the philosophical 
problem of nature. 

2 See chapter xi., vol. ii. of this 



a^f u, w 





with mental phenomena had been largely developed in 
this country, the results of this inquiry having found 
expression in the great psychological treatises of Alexander 
Baia (1818-1903),^ which appeared shortly before the 

^ Of all philosophers during the 
nineteenth century Alexander 
Bain deserves pre-eminently to be 
called a psychologist. Others 
equally great in psychological 
analysis have nearly always been 
tempted to enter the arena of 
general philosophy, making psy- 
chology the fundamental doctrine 
from and through which metaphy- 
sical problems might be approached, 
or they have found psychology in- 
sufficient for this purpose. Baia 
moreover furnishes the best example 
of that tendency mentioned above 
(note 1, p. 23), of following in psy- 
chology the lead of the natural 
sciences. " Be it noted that Prof. 
Bain was, as most British philos- 
ophers have been, under the in- 
fluence of the leading scientific con- 
ceptions of the moment. It may be 
affirmed generally that the advance 
in psychology in our land has very 
much followed the advance in 
physical research. The theory of 
sound, for instance, was the out- 
standing physical theory in the 
time of Hartley. Consequently he 
proceeded to interpret mind accord- 
ing to the analogy, and to represent 
the nervous process as simply 
propagations of vibrations as in 
sound. Chemistry, in like manner, 
came to the front in the days of 
Mill. Consequently the process of 
Association was interpreted in terms 
thereof — it was set forth as a kind 
of mental chemistry. So, in Dr 
Bain's time, physiology was attract- 
ing much attention, and the work 
of Johannes Miiller, in particular, 
was greatly in evidence, and there 
was also an awakened interest in 
biology. Hence the physiological 
reference became prominent, and 

the method of natural history 
pointed the way to Dr Bain's mode 
of procedure " (Prof. W. L. 
Davidson in ' Mind,' 1904, p. 162). 
Prof. Sorley has, however, pointed 
out that the influence of physiology 
in Bain's writings is of a diSerent 
kind from that in which chemistry 
influenced Mill : the latter being 
of the nature of analogy, whereas, 
in Bain, we find the tendency to 
explain mental facts and processes 
by physiological facts and processes. 
Bain's principal works ('The Senses 
and the Intellect,' 1855, ' The Emo- 
tions and the Will,' 1859) were writ- 
ten before the evolutionary theories 
of the influence of heredity and 
environment had been generally 
recognised. This further stage in 
natural science, fully established in 
this country only later by Darwin, 
led accordingly to a new scientific 
formulation in the region of psy- 
chology which is represented mainly 
by Herbert Spencer (' Principles of 
Psychology,' 1st ed. 1855, 2nd 
ed. 1870, 1872). It has been 
frequently remarked of Bain's 
writings, as likewise of those of 
Lotze in Germany, that they belong 
essentially to the pre-evolutionary 
period of thought. M. Ribot finds 
Bain deficient likewise in morbid 
psychology : " Je regrette, pour ma 
part, que M. Bain ait ^t^ si som- 
maire sur les ph^nomenes qui font 
la transition de la psychologic nor- 
male b, la psychologic morbide 
(reves, sommeil magndtique, &c.), 
et qu'il semblait si bien en ^tat 
d'etudier. Mais le manque de 
m^thode comparative est une des 
lacunes de I'ouvrage. Ajoutons-y 
I'absence trop fr^quente de I'idee 
de progr^e, d'oti par suite I'dtude 



new school of psycho-physical research made its debut 
in Germany. The British school had latterly benefited 
(Treatly by taking notice of the critical works of Kant 
and the physiological labours of Johannes Miiller. It 
was mainly owing to Jir William Hamilton of Edinburgh, 
that the analysis of'^the intellectual constitution of the 
human mind, instituted by Kant in r5£lx.t^.the_scepfcl. 
cism of Hume, received due recognition by one of the 
"f^niost representatives of the empirical school— John 

Stuart Mill. 

The introspective school was not content to confine 
itself to purely descriptive work. It had elaborated a 
psychological theory of its own, which held a place in the 
labours of English writers similar to that occupied for ^^^^^^ 
a time in Germany by the theory of Herbart : this was psychology, 
the theory of ^sociation ^ 

The psychology of this school, usually termed associa- 
tion psychology, differed as much from the ^fildet 
fa culty psycho logy as did the psychology of Herbart. 
it dates from the writings of Hume, perhaps even 
from those of Hobbes, as well as from those of JDavid, 
Hartley (1705 J 7). With the latter it starts from 
the idea already expressed by Locke, that the pheno- 
mena of the inner life can be traced__back tj) _sensa^^ 
tions. But the way in which this idea was expressed 
suggested from the beginning a twofold development. It 

dynamique des phenomenes a ^t^ 
quelquefois negligee" (*La Psy- 
chologie Anglaise Contemporaine,' 
1870, p. 294). On the other side, 
it must be remarked that the 
mathematical treatment of psychical 
phenomena as it originated in 

Germany first through Herbart and 
more successfully through Prof. 
Wundt has never found much 
favour in this country. It is mainly- 
through American writers that 
English psychological literature has 
been represented in this branch. 



did not only imply that the world of our senses supplies 
all the material for reflection and thought and the great 
development of abstract ideas, but also secondly, that this 
totality of sensations consis ts of separate elements into 
which it can be broken up, and out of which it can be put 
together again in the same way as we put togethe r in 
chemistry physical bodies out of their elements. The 
first of these two aspects has been adopted by all the 
representatives of the empirical school, and also by those 
philosophers who make a definite distinction between the 
matter and the form of thought. But the second way 
of putting the truth which was implied in the sensational 
theory of knowledge led to a^kind of atomism of thought, 
to what John Stuart Mill called a mental chemistry. We 
may say that the rigid views of the older faculty psy- 
chology were opposed in the German school of Herbart 
by emphasising the conflict and movement of ideas, these 
being conceived in analogy with mechanical forces, and 
that it was on the other side opposed in the English school 
of Hartley and James Mill by the attempt to show how 
the higher and more complex ideas were compounde d out 
of simpler elements by the various processes of associa- 
tion.^ The agency, however, which brought about this 

^ Prof. Stout in his analysis of 
Herbart's psychology has some 
valuable remarks as to the differ- 
ence between the German and the 
British ways of approaching the 
subject. One of the principal dif- 
ferences lies in the much greater 
importance and prominence which 
both Herbart and Beneke, especially 
the former, attached to the unity 
of consciousness or of the soul. This 
characteristic of the inner life stands 
with Herbart in the foreground of 

psychological investigation ; with 
contemporaneous British thinkers 
it is kept in the background, or 
rather implied. For Brown, "the 
unity of the mind is rather an 
abstract unity excluding difference, 
than a concrete unity including and 
connecting differences. Herbart 
also regarded the soul as a unity 
excluding difference. He even held 
this doctrine in a more rigid and 
uncompromising form than any 
other philosopher" ('Mind,' 1889, 




union of simple into complex ideas was left very much in 
the dark; as in chenristry, for a long time, chemical affinity 
remained unexplained and obscure. Hume, in trying to 
account for the conception of cause and effect, for the 
inevitable connection which we recognise in the succes- 
sion of phenomena, reduced this fundamental fact of all 
experience to the custom or habit which the repetition 
of the same sequence inevitably produces. Hartley, 
adopting a similar explanation, confirmed and strengthened 
it by supposing that this habit was acquired through the 
physical constitution of the nervous system. He held 

p. 18). "For Herbart, as well as 
for Locke and his successors, the 
unity of the mind was primarily an 
hypostasised abstraction of unity. 
But the German thinker differs 
from the English both in the manner 
in which he arrived at this concep- 
tion and in the psychological conse- 
quences which he deduced from it. 
It was through exclusive reliance 
on the immediate evidence of in- 
ternal perception that the country- 
men of Bacon fell into this error. 
With Herbart, on the contrary, it 
was an integral part of an elaborate 
and highly speculative system of 
metaphysics. He was led by a pro- 
cess of abstract reasoning to main- 
tain the simplicity of the soul in 
80 absolute a sense that he was 
compelled to exclude from its in- 
trinsic nature all variety and 
difference whatever, including even 
successive modification in time. 
Thus he cannot, like Locke, treat 
the mind as essentially a combining 
agency, or, like Brown, as a sub- 
stance passing through a series of 
states. He is therefore unable to 
introduce into his psychology the 
metaphysical conception of the 
unity of the soul, except by trans- 
forming it, however inconsistently, 
into a conception of synthetic unity, 

which takes a twofold form in its 
application to presented content 
and to mechanical interaction re- 
spectively " (ibid., p. 19, et seq.) 
Herbart, as we know, was influenced 
by Leibniz. Now Leibniz in his 
well-known criticism of Locke laid 
stress on the fact that in mental 
science we have not only to do with 
what is in the intellect but also 
with the intellect itself. This puts 
the question of the combining agency 
or unity of the soul into the fore- 
ground. Herbart was further in- 
fluenced by the mechanical sciences 
of his age. But in dynamical 
reasoning we deal with the com- 
position of forces acting on a point 
and merging into a resultant. And 
it seems likely that putting these 
two aspects together Herbart found 
his way from the unity of the soul 
to the multiplicity of psychical 
phenomena under the conception 
of the play of different forces, 
whereas English psychologists, such 
as Mill, fastened rather upon the 
analogy of chemically different sub- 
stances combining in the unity of 
a compound with different proper- 
ties. " In fact, Herbart thought 
mechanically, the Associationists, 





in fact that sensation is the result of physical vibrations 
in the nerves, which leave behind .them the tendency or 
habit of vibrating, this being the physical explanation of 
memory. Hartley took note of only one kind of asso- 
ciation, viz., association by contiguity, sensations being 
together, either in space (synchronous) or in time (suc- 
cessive). James Mill took up the theory of Hartley, but 
he, like Hartley, confined himself to association in space 
(synchronism) and association in time (succession), whereas 
Hume had recognised three forms of association, viz., 
contiguity in time or space, resemblance, and causality. 
20. James Mill also laid stress upon the fact that, in the 

nfentai ^ ^ same way as in chemical compounds, the result or pro- 
duct may appear to be simple, and that the elements 
out of which it is compounded may from various causes 
become imperceptible. And he as well as Hartley 
attempted to show how simple mental states may, 
through the union with others, lead to apparently 
quite different states. For instance, disinterested love 
might have been developed out of originally selfish 
emotion. The principle of association was thus em- 
ployed to bring unity and simplicity into the chaotic 
mass of the phenomena of the inner world, and it 
cannot be denied that the simplicity with which this 
complicated subject was thus represented did much to 
recommend the whole scheme. It was further elabor- 
ated with a very large amount of evidence drawn from 
original observation, as well as from physiological research, 
«i. by Alexander Bain in his two well-known treatises men- 
"^ tioned above.^ Bain, however, remedied in addition one 

1 See p. 27, note 1. 



Want of 

of the principal defects in the psychology of the empir- 
ical school, a defect which had been noticed not only in 
this country but also in France. Of this I shall speak 

later on. 

In the meantime it will be of interest to draw 
attention to some of the general characteristics of the 
British schools of philosophy. There never has existed 
in this country, up to quite recent times, a ruling 
system of philosophy in the sense in which we may 
speak of the ruling systems of Descartes, of Leibniz, 
Kant, and Hegel abroad. It is quite true that Hobbes 
elaborated a system of philosophy and Berkeley sug- s^^^iu 
gested one, but neither had acquired any widespread p^^^^^p^^"- 
following or currency. More than by systems of phil- 
osophy the British mind has been led by methods 
of thought. Such methods are, for instance, the in- 
ductive methods usually connected with the name of 
Bacon, the common-sense and the introspective methods 
usually connected with the name of Thomas Eeid and 
the Scottish school. One of the results of this attitude 
of the British mind has been the absence of completeness 
and finaUty in many of the arguments of English and 
Scotch thinkers. In spite of great acuteness and 
originality, they have rarely pursued their leading ideas 
to their ultimate conclusions. Instinctively they have 
mostly been satisfied with the attitude peculiar to the 
natural sciences, where definite methods are employed 
and principles applied so long as they prove to be 
useful; being frequently abandoned when it becomes 
evident that their usefulness has come to an end. 
Thus, for instance, the division which in the Baconian 








philosophy was set up between the knowledge of natural 
and spiritual things, amounted to a merely temporary 
division of mental labour, signifying a truce rather than 
a final reconciliation. This truce lasted for more than 
two centuries, when, in the end, it became evident that 
the growth of natural knowledge gained by the appli- 
cation of the inductive methods would entrench upon 
those regions which had been reserved to theology and 
to the formation and development of a practical creed. 
What the Germans call " zu Ende denken," the thinking 
out or pursuing of a course of thought into its remote 
conclusions, is a thing rarely practised in this country as 
it is abroad. As soon as any argument, however logical 
it may appear, comes into conflict with common-sense, or 
with strongly held beliefs, it loses its hold of the British 
mind in the same way as any theory in science would 
do as soon as it came into conflict with facts. The 
consequence is that many original lines of thought 
which were started in this country have, when adopted 
abroad, acquired quite a different complexion from what 
they presented in their native country. Examples of 
this are the appearance of Newtonianism in France and 
Darwinism in Germany. In philosophy the teachings 
of Locke led to sensationalism and materialism under 
the hands of French thinkers, such as Helvetius and Con- 
dillac. In the controversy between Leibniz and Locke's 
younger contemporary, Clarke, it was quite evident that 
the former realised more clearly the ultimate outcome of 
Locke's reasoning and the necessity of dealing with it. 
In this country these ultimate conclusions were probably 
first realised by Berkeley and Hume. The former replied 




by a system of philosophy which remained unnoticed at 
the time, receiving merited attention only quite recently. 
Hume was content to leave matters in the state of 
special problems which he defined but did not attempt 
ultimately to solve. It must also not be forgotten that 
none of the great thinkers, from Bacon to Hume, were 
charged with teaching, i.e., with imparting their ideas 
to younger minds. They held no official positions which 
necessitated them seriously to consider the educational 

side of their doctrines. 

The educational demand arose in this country ^^ 
prominently through the teaching at the Scotch Univer- t^'i^l" 
sities. These were, as I mentioned on a former occa- 
sion, modelled upon the continental system ; on that 
system which obtained in France and the Netherlands- 
They were Universities in the true sense of the word. 
Their task wa^ to cultivate the complete circle of know- 
ledge. In this they differed, up to quite recent times 
from the two great English universities, which excelled 
rather in a few special branches of knowledge, and which 
approached the ideal of a university, compassing the 
whole circle of learning and thought, only within the 
second half of the nineteenth century. The same 
pecuUarity which has characterised the teachmg at the 
older English universities, that it nursed excellence m 
single and unconnected branches of learning, is char- 
acteristic of all English thought as opposed to that of the 
Continent: it utters itself freely in works of mdmdual 
excellence and originality, with little regard for sys- 
tematic completeness. But wherever the latter, as 
expressed in the term " universitas," is attempted. 



it becomes inevitable that subjects have to be treated 
and matters discussed, for which an assembly of 
even the greatest scholars cannot guarantee adequate 
and equal treatment. Du Bois - Keymond, the great 
physiologist of Berlin, has truly and honestly admitted 
this fact in saying that the teacher of physiology has 
indeed to teach a great many things which he does not 
know. We may express this fact, which has exerted an 
enormous influence upon the development of philosophic 
systems, and, indeed, on all comprehensive doctrines, by 
saying that the position of an official teacher imposes 
upon him obligations which the unofficial and extramural 
scholar has never to face. These demands, which the 
position of a university professor officially imposes, 
made themselves felt when the Scotch universities took 
up the teaching of moral and mental philosophy in the 
eighteenth century ; ^ they were accentuated when that 

^ " The Parliamentary Commis- 
sion for visiting the Universities, 
appointed in 1690 and following 
years, directed in 1695 the Pro- 
fessors of Philosophy in St Andrews 
to prepare the heads of a system of 
Logic, and the corresponding Pro- 
fessors in Edinburgh to prepare a 
course of Metaphysics. The com- 
pends drawn up in consequence 
were passed from one college to 
another for revision ; there is no 
evidence that they were finally 
sanctioned, but they may be ac- 
cepted as giving a fair idea of the 
instructions in philosophy conveyed 
in the universities of Scotland at 
the close of the seventeenth cen- 
tury — at the very time when 
Locke's Essay was finding its way 
so rapidly over the three kingdoms. 
Logic is called the instrument to 
acquire other sciences, inasmuch as 

it prescribes rules for rightly appre- 
hending, judging, and arguing. 
. . . Metaphysics are said to be 
defined by some as a science of 
being as being ; by others as a 
speculative science, which considers 
being in general and its properties 
and kinds as abstracted from 
matter. The benefits arising from 
the study of metaphysics are said to 
be, that treating of undoubted 
truths and axioms we are enabled 
by their assistance the better to 
discover truths generally and avoid 
errors. . . . That ... it aids the 
understanding in every kind of 
learning, and specially in theology, 
in which use is made of meta- 
physical terms. . . . Such was the 
pabulum on which college youths 
fed during the century" (M'Cosh, 
'The Scottish Philosophy,' 1875, 
pp. 22, et seq.) 



crisis of thought had to be faced, which was marked by 
the writings of David Hume.^ Similar demands pre- 
sented themselves when in Germany the original but 
fragmentary ideas of Leibniz had to be worked into 
a system which should form the basis of university 
teaching. Again, the same practical problem had to be 
solved when during the Kestoration in France the great 
teachers of philosophy had to meet the demands made 
upon them by the official system of higher instruction. 
The way in which this practical problem was solved 
differed in all the three cases according to the genius of 
the nation, the prejudices, the exigencies, and the sur- 
roundings of the age. There are two distinct ways in 
which the teacher of any large subject can make up for 
the deficiencies which his personal knowledge or that of 
his age must necessarily contain. No doubt both ways 
are generally resorted to. He can either appeal to 
custom and tradition, or he can extend the principles 
and ideas which have proved fruitful in the treatment 
of restricted fields to the whole of the region which he 
desires to cultivate. In the degree in which he gives 
more weight to the one or to the other of these methods, 
his teaching will become practical or abstract, con- 
ventional or revolutionary, satisfying on the one side 

I r II 

^ We know that in 1744 David 
Hume was anxious " to be appointed 
Professor of Moral Philosophy in 
the University of Edinburgh, but 
public sentiment could not bear 
the idea of one so sceptical being 
appointed a teacher of youth" 
(M'Cosh, p. 124). 

"People have often speculated 
as to what Hume would have 

taught had he been elected Pro- 
fessor of Moral Philosophy in Edin- 
burgh. I believe he would have 
expounded a utilitarian theory, 
ending in the recommendation of 
the pleasant social virtues ; speak- 
ing always respectfully of the Di- 
vine Being, but leaving His exist- 
ence an unsettled question" (ibid., 
p. 153). 





the inherent common - sense, on the other the ideal 
demands of our nature. 

There can be no doubt which of the two courses was 
mainly favoured by those teachers of philosophy begin- 
ning with rrancis Hutcheson (1694-1746) and ending 
with Sir WiUiam Hamilton (1788-1856), who together 
24. form the Scottish school of philosophy.^ They all 
o?coZon- appealed to what was early called by them common- 
sense, a term which the historian of Scottish philosophy, 
James M'Cosh, has traced to the writings of Shaftesbury. 
With some correctness it may be said that the opposition 
to the theoretical movement in English philosophy which 
began with Locke and was continued by Berkeley and 


1 The history of this school has 
been written by James M'Cosh, who 
gives a very complete account of 
the different members and their 
teaching. He traces the beginnings 
of this school -back to BaconTCocke, 
and SJiaftesbury in England, "and 
includes a great number of names 
of local importance, but little known 
outside of their own country. The 
Scottish school, though it educated 
Jame s Mill, led to an independent 
development when the latter left 
Scotland for London, where he 
came under the influence of Hart- 
ley's philosophy an^ ^entham's 
political theories. Besides, "it is 
not uncommon for Scotchmen, when 
they bury themselves in London, 
to lose their religious faith, which 
is so sustained by public opinion— 
as Mill would have said, by associa- 
tion of ideas— in their native land " 
(M'Cosh, loc. cit, p. 372). He also 
abandoned Scottish metaphysics for 
the more fruitful and practical prob- 
lems of economics and political phil- 
osophy. The other development 
which led Scottish thought out of 
the precincts of the native school 
came through S ir Wm. H amilton 

who adopted some of Ka nt's d oc- 
trinef and prepared the way for 
that more recent school of thought 
which centres in the names o |_T. H . 
Gre en and Edward Caird. In Ger- 
many the Scottish school is known 
only through the scanty informa- 
tion which Kant possessed of some 
— and these not the most important 
—of Hume's and Reid's writings. 
This was, however, enough to start 
in him an independent line of 
reasoning, so different from that 
of the Scottish thinkers that for 
German thinkers, with the excep- 
tion of Beneke, Scottish philosophy 
lost all interest and attractiveness. 
As to the relation at the Scottish 
universities between theological 
and philosophical teaching, M'Cosh 
singles out Thos. Chalmers (1780- 
1847) as the principal thinker in 
whom the reconciliation between 
Scottish philosophy and Scottish 
theology was effected. Before his 
time there existed " a severance, at 
times an opposition, if not avowed 
yet felt, between the Scottish phil- 
osophy and the Scottish theology " 
{loc. cit.f p. 393). 

Hume, started in the popular and elegant writings of 
Shaftesbury, but received a more professional expression 
in the writings of the Scottish university teachers.^ The 
great problem with which they were concerned was to 
define what is meant by common-sense, and to what 
extent the appeal to common-sense is legitimate and 
ultimate. So far as the subject is concerned with which 
I am dealing at present, Thomas Eeid, who occupies the 
central position in this Scottish school, appeals to common- 
sense against the scepticism of Hume, as immediately 
revealing to us two facts: the existence of an external 
world, and that of the soul. These two principles are 
elements of our original nature as it came from the 
hands of the Creator. Every sensation which I receive 
brings with it the belief in an external object and of 
myself, the experiencing subject. Eeid, in fact, appealed 
to what in more recent philosophical phraseology are 
called the data of consciousness, and, in doing so, he 
opened out and cultivated the great field of observation 
of the phenomena of the inner world. He has been 
blamed for multiplying too much the number of these 
immediate data, but he and his followers have the merit 
of taking due note of the breadth and fulness of the 
human mind, of its active as well as its intellectual 
powers, and of counteracting the one-sided intellectualism 
and the exclusiveness of those who would find the solu- 

osophers in England, they developed 
their ideas in treatises dealing 
usually with one or a few special 
problems without any attempt 
towards completeness or systematic 
unity. The latter appears for the 
first time, as has already been said, 
in Herbert Spencer. 

^ None of the principal repre- 
sentatives of the English, as dis- 
tinguished from the Scottish school 
of philosophy, beginning with Bacon 
and ending with John Stuart Mill 
and Herbert Spencer, were univer- 
sity teachers. Like so many of the 
great naturalists and natural phil- 




tion of the philosophical or psychological problem in a 
single principle. It is true that they frequently seemed 
content with a description where others would seek for 
explanations, and that, as for instance in the lectures of 
Thomas Brown, — who, however, approximated, on many 
points, to the English school, — rhetoric frequently takes 
the place of argument. 

In this country the labours of the Scottish school 
of psychology were to a great extent cast into the 
shade by the more critical and penetrating writings of 
James and John Stuart Mill, and by the new phase 
of thought which has its beginning in the last repre- 
sentative of the Scottish school. In the writings of 
Hamilton, and those of his disciple Mansel, the slowly 
elaborated arguments of the English and Scottish schools 
came into contact with the foundations of religious 
belief. The Bampton Lectures on the " Limits of Eeh- 
gious Thought " put an end, once for all, to that truce 
which Bacon had established between philosophical 
or scientific and spiritual knowledge.^ But outside of 

^ The history of the earlier school 
of Scottish philosophy down to its 
latest representative, SirWm. Ham- 
ilton, has been written by Prof. 
Pringle-Pattison (Andrew Seth) in 
the first part of his Balfour Lec- 
tures. He there very lucidly deals 
with that special problem through 
which Scottish philosophy came 
into contact with German thought : 
the problem of knowledge. It is, 
therefore, not so much the psy- 
chology of the school, in which we 
are for the moment mostly inter- 
ested, that he discusses. It is rather 
the problem of knowledge, which will 
occupy us in one of the following 
chapters. He shows that the in- 

fluence of Kant upon Hamilton 
signifies a departure from the 
genuine spirit which pervades the 
earlier representatives of the Scot- 
tish school — notably the writings of 
Thos. Reid, — and he maintains that 
the agnostic conclusions of Hamil- 
ton and Mansel led "Scottish 
philosophers (to) set about a more 
careful revision of their premises " 
(A. Seth, 'Scottish Philosophy,' 
1885; 3rd ed. 1899, p. 1S6). 
How this led, through a study of 
Hegel, to a philosophical position 
not unlike that occupied by Lotze 
in Germany, I shall have oppor- 
tunities of showing in the sequel 
of this History. 




I i 

to France. 

this country the philosophy, and especially the psy- 
chology, of the Scottish school met with due recog- 
nition by the French philosophers of the time of the 

As is well known, and has been mentioned in the 
course of this History, the philosophy of Locke was 
introduced into France mainly through the influence 
of Voltaire, who made it, as well as the natural phil- 
osophy of Newton, a prominent subject in his * Lettres 
sur les Anglais,' published in 1731. 

The new ideas which were contained in this philosophy 25. 
fell upon a more genial soil in France, where everything carried over 
was prepared to receive the seed of the mental revolution 
which they contained. M. Taine has eloquently set 
forth the reasons why the philosophy of the eighteenth 
century, which was born in England, met with its full 
development in France. "The new seed fell upon a 
suitable soil in the country of the classical spirit. In 
this country of logical reasoning it did not meet any 
of those rivals which choked it on the other side of 
the Channel, and it not only acquires immediately the 
force of the rising sap, but also the organ of propagation 
which was wanting. This organ is the art of language : 
eloquence applied to the most serious subjects, the talent 
of illuminating everything. The good writers of this 
nation express things better than those of any other 
nation. Their books teach little to genuine scholars, 
but it is by the art of language that men are ruled, 
and the mass of them, continually driven away from 
the sanctuary of the sciences by the severe style and 
the execrable taste of other learned works, cannot 






resist the seductiveness of the French style and 
method."^ Accordingly M. Taine maintains that "the 
fever of demolition and reconstruction remained super- 
ficial and momentary in England. Deism, atheism, 
materialism, scepticism, ideology, theories of the return 
to nature, proclamation of the rights of men, all the 
audacities of Bolingbroke, Collins, Toland, Tindal, and 
Mandeville, all the darings of Hume, Hartley, James 
Mill, and Bentham, all the revolutionary doctrines 
remained there, greenhouse plants confined here and 
there in the isolated cabinets of a few thinkers: in 
the open air they quickly degenerated after a short 
blossoming, through the hea^vj competition of the older 
vegetation which still occupied the land." 

This older vegetation was the inductive spirit, the 
healthy common-sense and the constitutional life of the 
nation which then already " slowly broadened down from 
precedent to precedent." Locke had something else to 
do than to work out a system of philosophy by drawing 
out with slender logic the extreme conclusions of a 
theory which worked with the two conceptions of sensa- 
tion and reflection and started with the human soul as a 
tabula rasa. His writings on questions of government, 
on toleration, and education, had the object not of up- 
setting but of reforming the existing political and social 
conditions. The extreme consequences of his line of 
reasoning, drawn by Hume, were — when the appeal 
to common-sense was allowed — easily refuted by Thomas 

1 See H. Taine, ' Les Origines de 
la France Contemporaine ' (L' Ancien 
Regime), 15th ed. 1887, p. 331, &c. 

The above quotation includes a 

passage from Joseph de Maistre 
referring to French style. 
2 Taine, loc. cit, p. 330. 


/ 229 

Eeid and others by appealing to common -sense. To 
this school, which had to teach the youth of Scot- 
land, common-sense included the universally admitted 
conceptions of an enlightened form of Christian doctrine. 
This had, in their country, received a very strong popular 
confirmation by the evangelical movement which op- 
posed free thought as much as extreme clericalism, and 
which trusted to immediate evidences and inner light. 
This immediate evidence or common-sense told man that , 

the world had a Creator, that he himself had a soul and 
a spirit ual destiny. Such a broad basis of common- 
sense, such a fruitful field for social reform and popular 
instruction, did not exist in France. Writers of the 
most opposite schools have eloquently described the con- 
dition of things there. Not only M. Taine but Victor 
Cousin has described the reception which Locke 's ideas 
met with in France, where the logical and systematic 
mind of Condillac reduced them to an jixtreme sensa- 
tionalism which took no notice of all the surrounding 
conditions and the background of Locke's philosophy. 

If we leave out this background and the evidence of 
common-sense, if we abandon, as Hume did, the doctrine 
of the substantial nature of the soul, the psychology 
which remains reduces the inner life to a passive re- 
ceptivity, the mind to a tabula rasa, to a blank page H^ uX*^ ^ ^*" 
which receives passively the impressions of the senses ; 
and even the word reflection, which denotes the process 
by which general ideas and knowledge are formed, does 
not help us to understand the two great facts of the 
inner world : its unity and its activity. Hume recog- 
nised the difficulty, but he contented himself with 






leaving it standing as an insoluble dilemma. In France 
the successors of Condillac early recognised that the 
theory which reduced all inner life to an automatic 
occurrence with the semblance only of a spiritual reality 
was neither theoretically nor practically satisfactory. 
Practically the opponents of the Eevolution saw in the 
anarchy of the latter the proof that something was want- 
ing which should govern and direct the aimlessness of 
human actions when abandoned to complete freedom. 
This something they found in the return to that authority 
which in church and society had been destroyed by the 
Eevolution. It was the philosop hy of pure reaction, it 
found its classical expression in the writings of Joseph 
26. de Mds^reJ115jyL82JLj. This position led to no further 
fmi develop- philosophical development, but only to an attempted re- 
habilitation of the spiritual despotism of the Koman 
Catholic church with its dogma of infallibility. But 
the followers of Condillac, notably Cabanis (1757-1808) 
and DeTjacy, actuated by a truly scientific spirit, pointed 
out what was wanting in Condillac's system, which 
emphasised unduly the passive and receptive side of the 
inner world, being mainly interested in an analysis of 
the processes of understanding and reasoning. These had, 
through the enormous development of the mathematical 
and abstract sciences during that period, absorbed by far 
the greater and the most original part of the intellect of 
the age. Condillac had in the second edition of his 
' Treatise on Sensations ' ^ already pointed out one of the 
defects in his earlier edition ; he incidentally makes the 
remark that our knowledge of external things as outside 

1 Ravaisson, pp. 13, 14. 



of our sensations has its origin in the reaction from 
outside against our own activity, and De Tracy had 27. 

^ De Tracy 

significantly added that the principle of our action is the ^f^^^^^fy"* 
will and that the latter is our personality. " Within the 
torrent of our sensations there is nothing but appearance, 
there is neither a self nor a not-self ; surfaces as it were 
without an inside or an outside ; through the conscious- 
ness of our own willing we learn at once ourselves and 
something other than ourselves : that there are on this 
side and on that side of sensations an inner world and 
an outer world : two realities opposed to each other and 
which, in the act of concurrence, touch and penetrate 
each other." ^ As M. Kavaisson says, it was tantamount 
to finding again the soul itself below the passivity of 
sensations, which since Hume seemed to explain every- 

By referring to this principle of activity, the point 
was defined at which psychology would separate itself 
as a mental science from the physical sciences that 
threatened to absorb it.^ Both positions, that of re- 

^ Quoted by Ravaisson, * La Phil- 
osophic en France au XIX® Si^le,' 
1868, p. 13, &c. 

•' Sous la passivite des sensations, 
qui, depuis Hume, semblait tout ex- 
pliquer, retrouver I'activit^, c'^tait, 
sous le materiel, retrouver I'esprit 
meme. Forte de cette decouverte, 
la philosophic devait bientot se 
degager de la physique, sous la- 
quelle Locke, et Hume, et Condillac 
lui-meme I'avaient comme accabl^e. 
Deux hommes surtout y aid^rent : 
Maine de Biran et Amplre." 

2 This point is well brought out 
bv_3il. Ferraz in his 'History of 
FrencTi Fhilbsophy in the Nine- 
teenth Century ' (vol. iii., 'Spiritual- 

isme et Liberalisme,' p. 55 and fol- 
lowing). *'Les philosophes ^cossais 
croient que, si les sciences morales 
sont moins avanc^es que les sciences 
physiques, cela tient £ ce qu'elles ne 
suivent pas la methode de ces der- 
nieres ; qu'elles la suivent done et 
elles ne tarderont pas k les atteindre. 
Or, la methode des sciences phys- 
iques consiste h, observer les phdno- 
m^nes materiels et a determiner par 
induction les lois qui les regissent, 
sans se preoccuper ni de leurs causes 
ni de I'essence de la mati^re. Les 
sciences morales devront done, de 
leur cote, se borner k observer les 
faits psychologiques et a en induire 
les lois, sans s'inquieter ni de leurs 

11 •! 







Maine de 

ducing the study of the phenomena of the inner world 
to a study of natural phenomena, and that of lojking 
upon them as constituting a reality within themselves, 
were represented in France during the first half of the 
nineteenth century by prominent and original thinkers. 
The first thesis aimed at including psychology within the 
new science of biology which had been founded in the 
beginning of the century by Bichat. For its adherents 
the word soul had no meaning. The second strove to 
establish psychology and all the mental sciences upon 
an independent principle, maintaining the reality and 
substantiality of this principle. This would amount in 
the end to a definition of what is signified by the term 
soul and its synonyms such as mind, spirit, the inner 
and the higher life. 

The man who probably conceived the psychological 
problem most deeply was Maine de Bira n (1766-JJ24}. 
He was a discij)le oLCondiljac, but in insisting untiringly 
upon the process of introspection as the only way 

causes ni de la nature de I'ame elle- 
meni2. Cette consequence, nous 
ne I'imposons pas aux Ecossais et a 
Joufiroy ; ils la tirent eux-memes. 
Reid et Stewart, si prodigues de 
details, quand il s'agit de decrire 
I'imagination ou I'association des 
idees, ne parlent guere que pour 
memoire de la spiritualite de I'ame. 
Ils I'admettent plutot comme 
hommes et comme chr^tiens que 
comme philosophes et semblent y 
voir un mystere inaccessible k la 
raison humaine. Jouffroy bien que 
plus hardi que ses maitres de 
I'jfecosse, recule devant la question 
de I'immortalite du principe pensant 
et declare qu'il faut la Ij^sser miirir 
quelque temps encore, la science 

n'^tant point pour le moment en 
mesure de I'aborder. Ce philosophe 
ne s'aper^oit pas qu'en s'en tenant 
k la m^thode inductive, c'est-a-dire 
a la m^thode des 8ciSncW~^liyi=^ f 
iques, la science ne sera pas plus en 
mesure d'aborder cette question 
dans mille ans qu'aujourd'hui. 
L'immortalite de I'ame, en effet, 
repose sur sa causalite, son unite, 
son identity; or, ce sont Ik des 
attributs qui se constatent ; ils ne 
s'induisent pas. Pour resoudre de 
telles questions, il ne faut pas re- 
courir k la methode des Ecossais, 
qui n'est que la methode de Bacon 
gen^ralis^e, mais k la methode de 
Biran qui est celle de Descartes 
perfectionnee, " 


to find the essence of the inner life, by searching for 
it deeper and deeper, he separated himself more and 
more from the system of his master. In many ways 
his position and his career differed from that of other 
prominent thinkers of his age; for he was neither a 
politician nor a teacher of philosophy. His practical 
occupation consisted in administrative work, holding 
official positions during the Revolution, the Empire, and 
the Restoration. In passing, we may note that he thus 
belonged to that organisation which preserved all through 
the rapidly succeeding catastrophes and changes of the 
age that continuity and stability which did so much for 
the French nation: I refer to the organisation of ad- 
ministrative and legislative work. He has been called 
the greatest French psychologist of the nineteenth 
century. His influence was to a great extent personal, 
his works are fragmentary, and the most important and 
interesting among them were not published till long after 
his death ; nevertheless he may be considered as a centre 
of philosophical thought, and as such he has recently 
received increased appreciation.^ He marks the trans- 

^ French psychology during the 
first half of the nineteenth century 
had at the time little direct in- 
fluence on European thought as a 
whole. Accordingly we do not read 
much about it either in English or 
in German contemporary philoso- 
phical literature, and it is only 
since the more recent development 
of French philosophy has attracted 
attention and appreciation outside 
of France that the larger histories 
of philosophy have begun to assign 
to it an important place in the 
History of European Thought. 
Among these Prof. HofiEding's 

History, written from an inter- 
national point of view, gives the 
fullest and most satisfactory ac- 
count, though he himself, in a later 
work (' Moderne Philosophen,' 
1905, p. 67), declares that he has 
not been able to give it that ex- 
haustive study which it deserves. 
M. Ferraz has written its history 
in three volumes, dealing separately 
with three currents of thought, 
called respectively Socialism, Tra- 
ditionalism, and Spiritualism. The 
first includes Naturalism and Posi- 
tivism ; the second,Ultramontanism; 
and the third, Liberalism (1877, 





ition from" the professedly naturalistic to the professedly 
psychological treatment of mental phenomena. The 
former was represented within the teaching profession 
by the medicals and by the lecturers at the ficole 
Polytechnique, the latter by the lecturers at the ficole 
Xormale. Auguste Comte, himself a student and 
lecturer at the former institution, refers in a letter 
to the impending "struggle between the Normaliens 
and the Polytechniciens, which he regarded as a special 
form of the struggle between the metaphysical and 
positivist schools." ^ 

&c.) By far the most interesting 
account is the brilliant " Rapport " 
on French philosophy during the 
first two-thirds of the century which 
M. Ravaisson wrote at the instiga- 
tion of the Ministry of Public In- 
struction under the Second Em- 
pire (' La Philosophic en France au 
XIX® Siecle,' 1868). It forma one 
of a series of reports on the pro- 
gress of Letters and Science in 
France, suggested no doubt by, and 
as a sequel to, the Reports which 
the first Napoleon ordered the 
Academy to prepare in the begin- 
ning of the century. Modern 
French philosophy first attained to 
a prominent position in European 
thought through Auguste Comte, 
who, as we shall see later on, 
opposed not only metaphysics but 
also the psychological or intro- 
spective method emphasised in the 
school of Victor Cousin in opposi- 
tion to the scientific method of the 
naturalistic school. Nevertheless, 
it must be admitted that through 
taking note of the different schools 
of thought prevalent in neighbour- 
ing countries, such as the common- 
sen:*e philosophy of the Scottish 
school — mainly through Royer Col- 
lard, and the idealistic philosophy 

of Germany— mainly through Ma- 
dame de Stael (1766-1817, iu her 
'Sur I'AUemagne,' 1813), and by 
Degerando, as also by reviving the 
study of Descartes and of the 
Ancients, the spiritualistic school, 
through its very eclecticism, brought 
together a very large body of 
thought and much material. More 
recent thinkers, with whom we 
shall become acquainted in the 
sequel, have criticised and developed 
this in an original manner. In 
itself the psychology of the earlier 
part of the century in France ap- 
pears uncertain and inconclusive, 
being in search rather than in pos- 
session of a new principle wherewith 
to oppose the purely intellectual con- 
ception of the school of Condillac 
with its materialistic tendencies. 
Most of the prominent members of 
this school, such as Maine de Biran, 
Joufifroy, and Victor Cousin, are 
continually changing their atti- 
tudes, and must have been to the 
young and ardent spirits of that 
age suggestive and stimulating on 
the one side, unsettling and un- 
satisfying on the other. 

1 H. Hoffding, 'History of 
Modern Philosophy,' English trans., 
vol. ii. p. 319. 





Maine de Biran influenced mathematicians like 
Ampere and Sophie Germain, as well as leaders of the 
higher instruction such as Eoyer Collard and Victor 


With the intention of escaping from the materialism 
of the opposite school, and with a desire of impressing 
younger minds with the realities of the inner world, 
Eoyer Collard, who like so many others had gone 
through the disillusionment of the Eevolution, adopted 
the method of introspection, which in the course of his 
studies he found to be most genuinely represented by 
Thomas Eeid. He was animated by the " idea of trans- 
ferring into the domain of philosophy the method of 
observation to which we owe the discovery of so many 
truths in the natural sciences, and of abandoning the 
tendency to systematise, that inexhaustible source of 


Eoyer Collard was appointed to the chair of History ^^^29. 
of Philosophy at the University by the Emperor Kapoleon couaMand 
in 1811. This new departure in philosophical teaching, 
which Eoyer Collard continued for only four years, was 
taken up and brilliantly carried on for a long period by 
VictorjCousin_ a792-1867) . The centre of gravity of 
tis teaching lay in the history of philosophy, the 
exhaustive exposition of which by means of a fascinating 
but frequently fanciful rhetoric had the result of in- 
teresting a large number of younger talents in the study 
of the various philosophies of the ancient and modern 
world from an ideal point of view. Biran recognised 
that this teaching led away from the true psychology 
which he had in view, but he himself did not escape the 



■ • 


influence which more than any other, and largely through 
Cousin himself, made itself felt in the development of 
«, philosophical thought in France. I refer to the influence 
g.Bt™nd o5 of Kant and of German idealism. 

fd'SS,. Before considering this new influence which spread, m 

the course of the century, over the whole of European 
thought, it is well to remark that the French psychology 
of the earlier part of the century, though much influenced 
by the purely psychological interest of the Scottish 
school, nevertheless assumed quite a different character. 
Whereas at the Scottish universities empirical psychology 
was for the first time cultivated in a broad spirit and 
by introspective methods, psychology in France showed 
a tendency to become metaphysical, aiming at the solu- 
tion of problems which in the terminology of Wolfl^'s 
school belonged to rational, not to empirical psychology. 
This was no doubt one of the reasons which made Comte 
doubt its value and discard it as useless. We have seen 
how French thinkers criticised the psychologists of the 
Scottish school as dealing merely with the phenomena of 
mental life and not with the main problems, such as the 
nature of the soul and its destiny. That Scottish 
psychology was in much of its teaching and original 
research able to move in narrower and defined limits has 
been to its advantage. It was enabled to do so through 
its more or less intimate alliance with Scottish theology 
as taught at the same universities. This has been 
pointed out by M'Cosh, the historian of Scottish philo- 
sophy. The fundamental questions of the nature, the 
origin, and the future of the human soul were dealt with 
in the theological, not in the philosophical lecture-room. 



They formed the recognised groundwork, and were 
accepted by the philosophical teachers in the form of 
truths — be it of natural or of revealed religion — and as 
little analysed as the axioms of geometry or natural 
philosophy were analysed in their respective lecture 
rooms. This exclusion of what, on the Continent, was 
considered to be included in the task of the mental 
philosopher, really formed the strength of the Scottish 
school, through which it has become the founder of 
British psychology, i.e., of psychology proper, excluding — 
though not uninfluenced by — metaphysics on the one 
side and natural science on the other. French as well 
as German thinkers having, unlike their Scottish con- 
temporaries, assumed an independent attitude with 
regard to traditional beliefs as taught in the ruling 
churches of their countries, had to seek and establish 
that metaphysical or rational groundwork which con- 
temporary thinkers in Scotland found ready made, and 
which they, on their part, had little inducement either 
to challenge or to prove. The consequence was that 
in Germany, in certain schools, for a considerable time, 
psychology was entirely neglected in favour of meta- 
physics, and that in France the spiritualistic school con- 
ducted a continued search for metaphysical principles. 



, iff 



The far-reaching influence which the idealistic philo- ^^Jl^^ 
sophy of Germany had on the conception of all philoso- psychology, 
phical problems has shown itself prominently also with 







regard to all those questions which refer to the inner 
me, to the soul. To the historian of philosophy, and 
still more to the historian of thought, this influence 
announces itself not only by the appearance of quite a 
new vocabulary, but also by the altered meaning of 
older and well-known terms. Nothing is more per- 
plexing, more difficult to understand, for the student 
who Tpproaches for the first time the works of the 
German philosophers, from Kant to Schopenhauer, 
than the words and phrases which they employ and 
which lend themselves only awkwardly to a rendering in 
other modern languages. This new terminology is in 
itself an indication that we have to do with quite a 
new body of ideas, that the discussion of all philosophical 
problems has been moved on to an entirely different 
plane.^ We shall meet this change of level in the dis- 

1 This point is well brought out 
by PcaL-B^— EliSken. in his ' Ge- 
scHichte der Philosophischen Termi- 
nologie,' Leipzig, THTr: '*TJsrpeei- 
-glljrTn the theory of knowledge, 
that high- water mark of Kantian 
thought, we find much that is in- 
dependent. The traditional also is 
here moved in,to a new aspect, in 
particular we may remark, e.g., the 
following distinctions and opposi- 
tions : theoretical and practical 
knowledge, sense and understanding, 
understanding and reason, empirical 
and pure intuition, concepts of the 
understanding and of the reason, 
analytical and synthetical judg- 
ments, constitutive and regulative 
principles, immanent and transcend- 
ent principles, ' thing in itself ' and 
appearance, semblance and appear- 
ance, phenomena and noumena, 
intellectual and intelligible. In 
these and in other distinctions we 
recognise throughout the specific 

diversities of knowledge as a whole ; 
so far as the substance is concerned 
we recognise the endeavour to keep 
the subjective and the objective 
apart. In physics we find the op- 
position of mechanical and dynami- 
cal philosophy, of the inorganic and 
organic, of mechanism and teleology, 
of internal and external purpose, 
&c. ; in psychology, the separation 
of the mechanical and the chemical 
senses, of effort and passion, &c." 
(p. 146). 

" Kant sometimes adopts notions 
as he received them by tradition, 
brings them into the crucible of his 
own thought and elaborates them. 
We have then something that is 
novel, but a residue remains and 
a certain discordance is unmis- 
takable. That Kant, in psychology, 
starts with much that is taken from 
Wolflf and Tetens, has been fre- 
quently remarked, but not less is 
this the case in logic, metaphysic, 


cussion of philosophical questions in every instance where, 

in the course of this History, we deal with other matters 

than those pertaining to psychology or to the soul. It 

will therefore be useful to state in as few and simple words 

as possible wherein this radical change of aspect consists. 

Perhaps it can be more readily understood in contrasting 

the treatment which psychological phenomena received 

in the idealistic schools with that which obtained in the 

English and French schools during the eighteenth and the 

early part of the nineteenth century. The latter had 

collected a large amount of detailed knowledge of the 

various sides which the inner life presented, but the 

problem of the unity and essence of the soul had been 

either neglected or kept in the background as belonging 

to a different province, or it had been pronounced to 

be insoluble. The first of these three positions was that 

of Locke, the second that of the Scottish school, the ^i c,%u^ ^^^ 

third that of Hume. Kant was induced to take up the ^i^^ i^^ 

question in the course of the study of some of Hume's ^^Ja 

later writings, and the problem which he fixed on was the f^^^^y*^ * 

problem of the unity of thought.^ He did not start 

4 1 





and the philosophy of religion ; this 
awkward circumstance throws its 
shadow on his terminology. The 
same word may in the beginning 
and the end of a discussion mean 
something very dififerent, though a 
clear explanation is wanting " (p. 
149). The change in the philosophi- 
cal language of Germany, ^ which 
Prof. Eucken brings out in this pass- 
age, and in his further references 
to post -Kantian terminology, be- 
comes still more evident and is liable 
to create still greater confusion for 
those who approach the study of 
this philosophy from outside. 
^ Looked at from the position 

at which psychology has arrived in 
the course of the nineteenth century, 
we now see that the difficulties 
which presented themselves to 
Locke and his followers may, to a 
large extent, be traced to the 
atomising habit of their mental an- 
alysis, and that this is very likely 
owing to the fact that they desired 
to imitate the processes of observa- 
tion and reasoning which had been 
adopted in the natural sciences. This 
atomising tendency of thought, so 
successful, and yet, as we now know, 
so one-sided in its application to 
external nature, which readily sub- 
mits to a disintegration into sep- 





with the second and equally important question as to the 
essence or nature of the soul. He confined his investi- 
gations in the beginning to the question how unity 
of thought and knowledge was attained. In the sequel 
of his researches which, for reasons which we need not 
dwell on at present, he termed critical, he was inevitably 
led to deal with such questions as the essence of the soul, 
but the fact that he, to begin with, limited his investiga- 
tions to the question how unity and order came to be 
introduced into the casual and fleeting mass of single 
sensations of which experience consists, gave to his whole 
philosophy the appearance as if it dealt in a one-sided 
manner with the intellectual life of the mind. In fact, 
the connection of his practical with his theoretical philo- 
sophy remained always a difficult point, although the 

arate and definite things and pro- 
cesses, was still further aggravated 
by the fact that psychical pheno- 
mena do not become subjects of 
discussion before they have been 
externalised, so that they, to some 
extent, become observable objects 
for many minds ; whereas they origi- 
nally are the possession and property 
only of individual minds. This 
process of externalisation is carried 
out by us unconsciously in the ac- 
quisition of language, which consists 
of many words put together in 
many ways, and very frequently 
with very different meanings at- 
tached to them. In this way the 
natural "together," in time and 
space, of mental states is broken up 
into a multitude of different parts, 
in the same way as the sciences of 
dynamics, physics, and chemistry 
start by showing how the complex 
things, facts, and phenomena of 
nature can be divided up into 
separate more or less similar parts, 
and to some extent put together 

again out of them. But this reverse 
process of synthesis, by which we 
again arrive at natural objects, 
meets with very great difficulty if 
we deal with things of the mind, 
and this for obvious reasons on 
which I need not dwell at 
present. For the moment and in 
the present connection it is only 
useful to remark how, after taking 
for granted that our conscious inner 
experience is made up of a suc- 
cession or assemblage of definite 
elements called ideas, sensations, 
perceptions, or by other terms, the 
difficulty has arisen how to account 
for tjbe unity or synthesis which 
" seems to us so characteristic of the 
Inner life. Anticipating, we may 
say that this difficulty which dis- 
tinguishes internal from external 
experience is fully recognised onW 
in recent psychological literature, 
since Prof. James Ward put the 
conception of a presentation-con- 
tinuum prominently at the entrance 
of psychological discussions. 



practical or ethical problem was in his later writings put 
into the foreground. For our present purpose it is suffi- 
cient to note that by far the most important psychological 
question with which Kant dealt was the problem of the 
unity of thought as it appears in the exact knowledge 
which we possess in the sciences. There being on one 
side the casual mass of unordered sensations, on the 
other an orderly arrangement of scientific knowledge, 
the question arose, How must the human mind be 
equipped so as to be able to make order out of disorder, 
to import unity into the multiplicity and variety of the 
material given by our senses ? ^ We may note that pure 

' In defining the problem in this 
way, we see at once that Kant ad- 
hered to the thesis developed in 
the writings of Locke, Berkeley, and 
Hume : that knowledge and science 
is an attempt to bring unity and 
order into the contingent and 
chaotic material supplied by our 
seuse-impressions, termed by them 
ideas. In opposition to this view, 
which he termed the ideal system, 
Reid showed a deeper psychological 
insight when he searched for the 
unity and order in what was given 
to the observing and thinking mind, 
when he distinguished between sen- 
sation and perception. According 
to his view, single sensations or 
ideas were not the original given 
components, but these consisted of 
perceptions, i.e., of single elements 
already joined together. He thus 
may be considered as the first psy- 
chologist who maintained that the 
thinking process in the adult intel- 
ligent person is not the putting 
together of loose material, but that 
the beginning of this synthesis is 
afforded already in our perceptions. 
The single sensation is itself a 
mental abstraction, and as such 
never given in experience alone. 


Reid in this way goes behind the 
words and terms of language. To 
him, relations or judgments are the 
material with which we work, not 
the separate and single sensations 
into which we, by a process of ab« 
straction, may scientifically and 
artificially divide them. Whereas 
for Kant, the synthesis of the given 
loose material seemed to be the main 
function of the thinking mind, this 
synthesis existed already for Reid 
in the simplest original data of per- 
ception or experience. In this 
respectj ^eid st ood nearer to modern 
views ana tneories in psychology 
than did Kant. But wherein he 
failed was in his enumeration of the 
original complex_data of ^mscjaus- 
ness and in ithe"precwe~c[^miition of 
^He subsequent processes of thought 
which are partly analytical, i.e., 
dissecting, partly synthetical, i.e., 
leading on to higher or more com- 
prehensive unities of thought. For 
an English reader, the best exposi- 
tion of the permanently valuable 
contributions of the Scottish school 
to the psychology of the intellectual 
process is to be found in Prof. A. 
Seth's 'Balfour Lectures on Scot- 
tish Philosophy,' notably Lectures 








I I 


psychology, of which, e.g., at a later period, Maine de 
Biran is a true representative, looks deeper and deeper 
into the conscious self in order to find the essence of the 
inner world. To Kant, on the other side, the latter 
became as it were a mathematical or formal problem, and 
this was so much more the case as Kant, in his analysis 
of knowledge, directed his main attention to such know- 
ledge as was laid down and crystalHsed in definite 
judgments, i.e., in the sentences and words of language, 
and° in the theories of mathematics and natural 
philosophy.^ ^ 

III. and IV. : *' The essence of 
Scottish philosophy, as it appears 
in Reid, may ... be described as a 
vindication of perception, as per- 
ception, in contradistinction to the 
vague sensational idealism which 
had ended in the disintegration of 
knowledge. Sensation is the con- 
dition of perception; but so far 
from the two terms being inter- 
changeable, sensation, as a purely 
subjective state, has no place in the 
objective knowledge founded upon 
it; that is to say, the philosophical 
analysis of knowledge cannot pass 

beyond the circle of percepts. It 
is significant that the two points on 

which Reid takes his stand should 
be (1) the proclamation of a general 

distinction between extension, as a 
percept, and any feeling or series of 

feelings as such ; and (2) the asser- 
tion that the unit of knowledge is 

an act of judgment. These are the 

hinges, it is hardly necessary to add, 

upon which Kant's philosophy also 

turns— in the ^Esthetic and the 

Analytic" (3rd ed., p. 96). 

1 One of the principal subjects of 

psychological as well as of logical 

interest with which Kant was con- 
cerned was the problem of the 

certainty of knowledge, of the 

necessary, not merely contingent, 

connection of ideas. Locke had re- 
duced all certainty in the natural 
sciences to more or less of pro- 
bability, and Hume, to custom or 
habit of thought. This did not 
satisfy Kant, who, following in this 
Descartes' line of reasoning, sought 
for certainty in the constitution or 
nature of the human mind. This 
seemed to explain satisfactorily 
mathematical certainty, but not the 
certainty of knowledge referring to 
external phenomena. To explain 
this, the phenomena of the outer 
world must, as it seemed, have some- 
thing in common with the processes 
of pure or logical thought. This 
common feature was explained by 
Kant in his special theory of the 
ideality of time and space. With 
TJisToTTowefsltTobT more and more 
the form of thejiltimateidentitx^ 
I tKroBJ^ct^and led, through various 
phases, ultimately to_ Hegel'sjcon- 
ception of thought as fhe nature 
■andrTrfe""or the absolute mind, as 
being the essence both of the ex- 
ternal world of nature and history 
and the internal world of the human 
mind. It then became a task^of 
philosophy to develop a logic^AS 
well as a psycholo'gy of the absiraft 
mind, or of thought in its most ab- 


In adopting this course the beginning was made of a 
development that later on became characteristic of the 
whole school which historically started from Kant's 
position and ended in Hegel and Schopenhauer. Phil- 
osophy in England and France had become purely 
psychological, or, if it did not confine itself to the inner 
world which lies open to everyone in his own conscious- 
ness, it extended its field in the direction of taking in 
bodily phenomena, i.e., the physical outside of the inner 
world, or of dealing with the collective existence of man 
in the life of mankind and society. The natural 
development of English, Scottish, and French philosophy 
lay therefore in the direction of biology, anthropology, 
and sociology. The development on the other side, which 
was initiated by Kant, was not psychological, but on the ffi?i™e 

, , . , velopment 

contrary logical, or, to use a more modern phrase, in Germany, 
epistemological. If it was not professedly so in Kant's 
own deliverances, it tended to become so in the systems 
of his followers. There is no doubt also that a tendency 
in this direction lay already in the enterprise of Locke, 
who in his celebrated Essay dealt mainly with the human 
understanding, i.e., with the intellectual side : the problem 
of thought and knowledge. In this respect he followed, 
probably unconsciously, in the line of Descartes, who 
placed the thinking process in the beginning of his 
philosophy as the main characteristic of human person- 

etract sense. This higher psycho- 
logy was contained in Hegel's first 
and most original work, the * Phen- 
omenolo|^ o^^Mind. ' This^'H^m- 
cided neither wltFtlie empirical nor 
with the rational psychology of the 
vVolflBan school, and left far behind 
and below it the painstaking mental 

analysis of the human mind, as it 
was developed in this country, and 
later on by Herbart and others in 
Germany. In this psychology of 
the Hegelian school the conception 
and term of the Soul or individual 
Mind was gradually displaced in 
favour of the term Mind or Spirit. 





i . 

ality. This pure intellectualism, which in the British 
schools of philosophy was overcome by studying from 
various points of view, not so much the human intellect 
as the human mind, human nature, man and mankind, 
became a pronounced feature in the German idealistic 
systems, and ended in what has been termed the Panlogism 
of Hec^el. This tendency of the idealistic schools was 
to a great extent inherited from ancient philosophy, 
notably from Plato and the Neoplatonists. Plato had 
already looked upon concepts as independent realities, 
not merely as phenomena of the human mind; and in 
the neoplatonic system the sum of concepts was in a 
manner personalised as the universal "Nous" or Mind 
that comprehends in itself the intellectual essence of 

all things. 

This tendency to personify what to the ordinary 
observer were only processes, phenomena, or manifestations 
in the human mind— i.e., of the inner life of the human 
being — runs through the whole school of thought I am 
now referring to. It was there taken in real earnest, 
whereas in general literature similar expressions were 
used only in a figurative sense. If we add to this in- 
herited tendency, which on the Continent was vigorously 
opposed only in the monadolo^^ of Leibniz and by 
thinkers influenced by him, the other vicious tendency 
common to all the earlier psychological schools of looking 
upon the human mind or the soul as compounded of 
distinct faculties or powers, we understand at once the 
origin of that extraordinary phraseology with which Kant 
heralded his critical investigations; how it came that 
instead of speaking of the human mind or the soul he 



speaks of intuition (Anschauung), understanding, and 
reason, and of reason again as theoretical and practical, 
and of judgment, as if they were independent agencies, 
working together on separate lines and by definite laws 
in the production of all mental life and work. To these 
two tendencies, the tendency to divide rigidly mental 
phenomena and to personify independently mental 
processes or powers, we must add, as a third important 
factor, an extreme reliance upon the power of the human 
intellect to decide as to its own capabilities, and this not, 
as with Locke, by a psychological or historical investigation 
of the genesis of the thinking process, but by an analysis 
of general statements made in the form of language. 

The very title of Kant's first and most important great 
work, ' The Critique of Pure Reason,' suggests the idea that 
it was possible to abstract from the actual and concrete ex- 
isting examples of reasoning a definite pure form or scheme 
which existed as it were somewhere in the human mind 
anterior to the practical use of the reasoning faculties ; 
that one could by analysis of what is given in the 
crystallised knowledge of experience and of the sciences 
find out that something, that quid proprium, of which 
the thinking mind must be possessed before it made any 
practical use of its faculties. It was an attempt to step 
beyond the purely descriptive or psychological position. 
This attempt to overstep the limits of a purely descriptive 
process Kant termed characteristically the transcendental 
method. This term has been variously criticised, and 
had no doubt a deterrent effect upon those students of 
his philosophy who approached it from a common-sense 
point of view and with realistic habits of thought. The 





term, however, was coined with the definite object of 
distinguishing the whole investigation, on the one side, 
from the purely empirical and psychological, and, on the 
other from the older metaphysical or purely rational 
treatment which started, as in the philosophies of 
Descartes, Spinoza, and Leibniz, with certain abstract 
definitions of the nature or essence of the human mmd 
or soul, trying to deduce from these definitions its 
properties, its behaviour, and its destinies. Kant never 
adopted the conception of Locke that the human mmd 
was a tabula rasa or an unwritten sheet of paper ; he 
believed in the significance of Leibniz' criticism that the 
human intellect was a something with a specific endow- 
ment, and he proposed to find out what this endowment 
was by analysing the product of human intelligence, viz., 
experience, knowledge, scientific thought, and further on 
its activity as shown in the precepts of morality and 
the judgments regarding the beautiful, the good, and the 
purpose of things. This way of putting the problem was 
perfectly legitimate. Given on the one side the percep- 
tions of our senses, our impressions and feelings, and on 
the other side unified knowledge, definite precepts of 
moraUty and judgments of taste as they are elaborated 
through the activity of the human mind, it was a 
legitimate question to ask how the former are converted 
into the latter. But to many students of Kant's works 
it must at the time have appeared a mistake to think 
that this problem could once for all be solved by a 
critical analysis of the very meagre descriptions which 
the processes of knowledge, thought, or the precepts of 
morality and the canons of taste had received at that time 

in the literature of the schools. Nor did the pedantic 
formalism in which Kant's solution of the problems was 
clothed, and the great array of new terms which was 
employed, help to destroy the first strange impression 
which many even of Kant's followers, friends, and pupils 
received on the appearance of Kant's first great work. 
Nevertheless in this forbidding formalism, in this abstruse 
terminology, the great task of nineteenth century thought 
was for the first time fully grasped and announced. For 
its solution there was wanted a deeper and fuller 
psychological knowledge of that so-called material 
supplied by the senses, and on the other side a much 
clearer and fuller exposition of the methods of science, of 
the data of ethics, and of the precepts of taste and rules 
of artistic creation. To supply these preliminary and 
indispensable requisites, philosophical thought in this 
country had in Kant's time already made the beginning. 
The introspective school, assisted later on by physio- 
logical research, had, as we have seen, accumulated — from 
Hartley to Bain — a large amount of descriptive matter. 
Simultaneously and independently the science of morality 
or ethics was likewise developed in this country. A 
minute analysis of scientific reasoning was first given by 
John Stuart Mill in his Logic ; the principles of criticism 
and of literary and artistic taste were studied, as we shall 
see later on, on independent lines in all the three 


Thus about eighty years after the appearance of Kant's 
first Critique, and mostly if not always without any special 
reference to Kant's work, the preliminary steps had been 
taken for a renewed attempt to solve, in a less formal 







manner, the problem which Kant had defined for all 
time, namely this : How is the human soul passively and 
actively engaged in rearing the great edifice of knowledge, 
in instituting moral life and culture, and in producing 
and appreciating the creations of art and poetry ? Looked 
at in this way, we may say that Kant has formulated 
the psychological programme down to the present day, 
although it may be urged with some propriety that he 
himself was not pre-eminently a psychologist, and that 
his philosophy discarded the genuine psychological 


But for those who do not look for the working of the 
human mind and the life of the soul only within the 
narrow limits of individual experience, but who use the 
terms mind, soul, and spirit in the larger sense, as denot- 
ofindividu- ij^^r that unsccn ageucv which underlies the history of 

alism. o ° "^ 

mankind, the manner in which mental phenomena were 
studied in the philosophy of Kant, and still more in 
that of his immediate successors, constitutes an era in 
philosophical thought. As I remarked above, the dis- 
cussion of things referring to the soul was lifted on to 
an entirely different and higher plane. We may call 
this transcendental if we choose to do so, but this term 
should not suggest the idea that we have not to do 
with actual realities. Although it may be difficult or 
impossible to define these realities in such a manner 
that a minute analysis becomes possible, few persons 
will deny that such expressions as the spirit of the age, 
the essence of culture, the soul in nature and history, 
and thought — as used in the English language and by 
the writer of this History, — that all these terms have a 



very real meaning, and that they refer to a definite 
though logically undefinable something which underlies 
all external events, alone making them subjects of 
general and lasting interest. It is true that in the 
writings of Kant, and still more so in those of Fichte, 
Schelling, and Hegel, we do not meet with any sustained 
effort towards that painstaking psychological analysis 
which we find in the writings of the English and French 
introspective schools : they were, as stated above, intro- 
duced in Germany by the opposition thinkers like Her- 
bart and Beneke ; but in the whole of the literature 
which followed the appearance of Kant's works, or which 
accompanied it, we meet with one of the most remark- 
able psychological phenomena in the history of human 
thought. The fact that speculations of such an abstract 
nature, frequently expressed in uncouth and forbidding 
terms, should have attained a firm and lasting hold 
on the great intellects of a great people for a long period, 
is a psychological phenomenon well worthy to be pon- 
dered. Nor is it likely that this phenomenon would 
ever have actually occurred had the movement been a 
purely individual ^ and academic one. The causes 
which brought it about are to be found as much in the 

^ " At a time when the universal 
nature of spiritual life has become 
so very much emphasised and 
strengthened, and the mere indi- 
vidual aspect has become, as it 
should be, correspondingly a matter 
of indifference, when, too, that 
universal aspect holds, by the entire 
range of its substance, the full 
measure of the wealth it has built 
up, and lays claim to it all, the 
share in the total work of mind 

that falls to the activity of any 
particular individual can only be 
very small. Because this is so, the 
individual must all the more forget 
himself, as in fact the very nature 
of science implies, and requires that 
he should ; and he must, moreover, 
become and do what he can " 
(Hegel, 'Phenomenology,' end of 
the Preface, J. B. Baillie's trans- 
lation, 1910, vol. L p. 72). 





causes of 
this move- 


varying political temperament of the German people in 
the earlier part of the nineteenth century as in the 
independent rise and development of the creative powers 
in literature, in poetry, in the fine arts, and in musical 
composition.^ We may indeed go a step further, and 
say that those powers of the human mind which, m 
Kant's philosophy, were perhaps unduly separated or 
personified, became actually living forces in the great 
individuals who form, as it were, the dramatis personce 
or characters in that great intellectual drama— never to 
be forgotten and never to be acted again— which the 

1 The connection of philosophy, 
even of so abstract a nature as 
that of Fichte, Schelling, and above 
all of Hegel, with the literary and 
poetical atmosphere which prevailed 
in Germany at the end of the 
eighteenth and the beginnmg of 
the nineteenth century, has been 
more and more appeciated m recent 
histories of German philosophy and 
German literature. The foUowmg 
quotation from a recent thmker, 
who has done more than any other 
to make intelligible to the present 
generation the elevated mtellectual 
character of that bygone age, may 
serve in lieu of many others : 1 he 
generation to which Hegel belonged 
stood as much under the influence 
of the idealism of Kant and Fichte 
as of that of the French Revolution. 
It was full of the idea of an elevation 
of humanity and an approaching 
higher order of society. Fichte 
was the hero who proclaimed this 
new era, and his philosophy was 
devoted to bringing it about. The 
disciples of Fichte in Jena, m Ber- 
lin, and in Tiibingen were bound 
together through these ideas. Hegel, 
Schelling, Holderlin retained the 
ideals of their Tiibingen years and 
strengthened each other m them. 
And as the movement which the 

French Revolution had produced 
bore a European character, as the 
writers of the ideological school in 
France, the defenders of the Re- 
volution in England and in Ger- 
many co-operated in this movement, 
the new ideals maintained them- 
selves through their energy and 
their extent, even in opposition to 
the reaction which spread after the 
execution of the King and the wars 
of the Revolution. Hegel, among 
others, remained steadfast and full 
of courage. If one examines his 
[early] theological fragments, one 
sees them borne up by the spirit of 
this movement. His deep historical 
studies do not stand in contra- 
diction to his endeavours after a 
more perfect religious spirit and a 
renovation of society, but rather he 
brought, much more radically than 
the average German *Aufklarung,' 
Christianity into the flow of his- 
torical development, in which also 
this form of the religious spirit 
must lead to something higher. 
Taking this development m full 
earnest, his labour for and his 
belief in the future received added 
energy and a more definite aim 
(Wilhelm Dilthey, 'Die Jugend- 
geschichte Hegels'). 



history of German culture unrolls before our view. 
Thus the powers of the human mind, which in the 
various writings of Kant seem to co-operate in pro- 
ducing the intellectual, moral, and spiritual life of the 
human soul, are characteristically represented in the 
systems of his followers, not only by being emphasised 
as leading principles ; they are supported also in many 
instances by the personal character of the authors of 
those systems. For instance, if we read in Kant of the 
primacy of the will over the intellect, no more practical 
instance could be found wherewith to demonstrate 
this power of the human will than the life and the 
personality of Fichte. But it is not my intention to 
enlarge further on this point or to indulge in fanciful 
analogies. I desire only to arouse in my readers some 
sense of the wider psychological problem which the 
history of German idealism presents in its various 
aspects as philosophical, classical, or romantic, and in its 
appearance in science, poetry, and art.^ 

^ Referring again to what was 
said in the note to page 65, we may 
look upon Hegel's first great work 
as the psychology of the universal 
or absolute mind, and upon his 
later logic as the stages and method 
of its development. Earlier writ- 
ings of Hegel were preparatory to 
his final exposition, and had the 
object of defining the difference of 
his speculation from earlier at- 
tempts. This has been well brought 
out by Kuno Fischer in his brilliant 
analysis of Hegel's earlier tracts, in 
the last section of his 'History of 
Modern Philosophy' (vol. viii. p. 
245 sqq.) Still earlier preparative 
studies are dealt with by Dilthey 
in the dissertation quoted in the 
last note. Hegel defends the new 

philosophy, which was to " lay aside 
the name of love of knowledge and 
be actual knovrledge." As against 
the fragmentary philosophy of the 
" Auf klarung " the new philosophy 
was to be systematic ; as against 
the philosophy of common - sense, 
represented in Grermany by Krug, 
the new philosophy was not to be 
content with enumerating empiri- 
cally the data of consciousness, — 
it had, following Kant, to deduce 
them from a higher principle ; as 
against modern sceptics, represented 
in Germany by G. E. Schulze, it 
had to overcome the agnosticism 
suggested in Kant's mistaken doc* 
trine of "the Thing in itself" as 
opposed to its appearance ; as 
against the distinction of know- 

4 t 





The process of generalisation, of the sublimation of 
thoucTht out of the concrete into the abstract regions, 
had "however, a very detrimental effect upon the study 
of all those questions which deal with the life and 
se nature of the individual mind or soul. Psychology, m 
SST"' the older sense of the term, as an analysis of the human 
SffoS ^ind i.e., of the individual mind, had really disappeared. 
The data of consciousness were only discussed m a criti- 
cal spirit and with the object of leading beyond an 
individualistic conception, of overstepping or transcend- 
inc the limits of the self (or ego), and of conceiving such 
w^rds as consciousness, mind, self, and idea in a more 
general and impersonal sense as denoting at once the 
unity and community of many minds, many selves, and 
xnany ideas. It was only by elevating the philosophica 
point of view above the consideration of the empirical 
world of many things, many minds, and many ideas into 
the sphere of the systematic unity of all and into a 
higher hierarchy of ideas that Fichte^ found it possible 

ledge and faith, variously repre- 
sented in the philosophies of Kant, 
Jacobi, and Fichte, it had to over- 
come this disturbing dualism, the 
mere subjectivity of religion; finally, 
as against Spinozism, renovated in 
German philosophy by Schelhng, 
the absolute or universal substance 
was not to be dogmatically placed 
at the entrance of the system as an 
empty conception, but it was to be 
understood in its development in 
nature, the individual mind, and 
the mind of mankind. It was to 
be a subject, i.e., a spint. Ihe 
mind which knows itself in its 
development as sach is science. 
There is its reality and the realm 
which it creates out of its own 
elements" (Hegel's 'Werke, vol. 

u. p. 15). In this and similar 
passages contained in the preface 
to the * Phenomenology ' lies, as 
Kuno Fischer {loc, ciL, p. 293) says, 
"the whole of Hegel's philosophy. 

1 That Fichte's philosophy, for 
which he invented the new term 
"Wissenschaftslehre," was some- 
thing very different from the ordi- 
nary psychological treatment ot 
mental phenomena, was emphati- 
cally stated by Fichte in the earlier 
expositions of his doctrine. Yet it 
we advance to the study of his later 
writings, through which he gamed 
a popular as well as an academic 
reputation, we find that Fichte 
himself recognised more and more 
the necessity of leading up from the 
position of introspective psychology 



to escape from that purely subjective point of view, 
enclosed in purely introspective limits, which a logical 
development of Locke's and Kant's ideas seemed to 
necessitate. This consequence of Locke's sensationalism 
had been clearly pointed out by Hume, whereas the 
object of Berkeley's^ philosophy was to overcome it. 

to the higher level on which the 
whole of his speculation moved 
from the very beginning. "Phil- 
osophy starts from an observation 
of knowledge through introspection, 
and advances to its [supersensual] 
foundation" ('Werke,' vol. ii. p. 
541). In consequence of this some 
of these later writings have distinct 
psychological value in the narrower 
sense of the word. Notably is this 
the case with one of his later courses 
of lectures dealing with the " Data 
of Consciousness" (delivered 1810- 
11, published posthumously, 
1817). The lucid analysis with 
which this treatise begins drew, 
even from such a realistic thinker 
as Helmholtz (whose father was an 
enthusiastic follower and admirer 
of Fichte), favourable comment. 
And quite independently of his 
metaphysics Fichte had a power- 
ful indirect influence upon thought 
in general, and more recent psy- 
chology in particular, through the 
fact that the fundamental doc- 
trine in his speculation was the 
thesis that mind is primarily 
and essentially an active principle, 
and that he considered this to 
be a truth founded on immediate 
evidence and not deducible from 
any still higher principle. Through 
this statement, to which Fichte 
always adhered and which he ex- 
pounded and illustrated from many 
sides, his influence is still felt at the 
present day. More definitely can 
this be traced through the writings 
of the Jena professor, C. Fortlage 
(' System der Psychologie,' 1885), to 

Prof. Wilhelm Wundt in Leipzig. 
A purely metaphysical interpreta- 
tion and development by no means 
identical with the one just named 
may be traced through Schelling 
to Schopenhauer. 

^ No philosopher of the first order 
seems to have been so much mis- 
interpreted or misunderstood as 
Berkeley. He is classed by Reid 
among the "ideal" philosophers, 
beginning with Descartes and end- 
ing in Hume, and among German 
historians of philosophy he is very 
generally represented as a solipsist. 
This is to a large extent owing to 
the fact that only his earlier writ- 
ings seem to have been taken into 
consideration by his critics, and 
that his later constructive phil- 
osophy remained for a long time 
unknown. It is only since Prof. 
Campbell Fraser devoted himself to 
an independent study and to the 
editing of Berkeley's Works that a 
correcter view has gradually gained 
acceptance, although we still find 
Ueberweg in Germany and Huxley 
in England maintaining the more 
traditional view. From Eraser's 
painstaking examination it is clear 
that Berkeley was as little a solipsist, 
starting from the purely subjective 
experience of the individual mind, 
as was Fichte. Berkeley, in speak- 
ing of the mind, seems always to 
take for granted the existence of 
many individual minds, though he 
never faced the criticism — most 
clearly put by Hume — that his 
arguments against the reality of 
external matter outside of the 





It may be true and undeniable that everything to every 
individual soul comes back to its own sensations and 
subjective experience, but the fact that there are many 
other individual souls claiming similar, though not 
identical, experiences, raises the problem : How do we 
in practice get out of the narrow limits of our own self 
and, as it were, regard ourselves from outside as one 
among many equals ? Fichte did not linger to discover 
or e\^n to suggest how this transition from a purely 
subjective to Tn objective point of view was actually 
attained in the history of the individual soul, still less 
did he form any theory how, alongside of the common 
stock of ideas, individual life and individual conceptions 

thinking individual mind would 
apply with equal force to the exist- 
ence of other individual minds 
external to an individual mind. 
Fichte, on the other side, overcame 
the difficulty by taking the term 
mind as meaning the universal or 
general mind, of which individual 
minds were only examples. But 
Berkeley seems to be nearer to the 
more recent psychological view, in- 
asmuch as he admits that we know 
as little of the essence of the indi- 
vidual mind as we know of external 
matter. It is to him merely a 
point of reference, a unifying prin- 
ciple manifesting its existence in the 
use of the word "I," and as he finds 
this unity in subjective experience 
so he is likewise in search and con- 
vinced of the existence of such a 
sphitual unity in the external or 
general order of things which with- 
out it is inconceivable. Nor does it 
seem to him that a knowledge of 
the Supreme Unity or the Deity is 
less possible than our knowledge of 
other men, or of our own self, as in 
all the three cases what we do know 
is merely phenomenal. " Nor, 

Berkeley might say, is this sight of 
God which we have daily, a sight of 
an unknowable Something. We 
find through inner experience what 
conscious life is, though we have 
no sense of phenomenal knowledge 
of the *I' or the 'You.' We can 
attribute this, can we not, to God 
as well as to our fellow-men ? . . . 
So ' God ' is more than a meaning- 
less name— more than the unknow- 
able behind the sense-symbolism of 
nature. God means the eternally 
sustaining spirit— the active con- 
scious reason of the universe. Of 
God's existence we have the same 
sort of proof as we have of the 
existence of other conscious agents 
like ourselves when we say we * see 
them. Of course we never see and 
never can see another human spirit 
even when his body, as a phenomenal 
thing, is present to our senses ; we 
can only perceive the visible and 
tangible appearances behind which 
reason obliges us to recognise an 
invisible, individual spirit, &c. 
(' Berkeley,' by A. Campbell Fraser, 
"Blackwood's Philosophical Class- 
ics," 1881, p. 165). 

I ■■ % 



are maintained. In fact the phenomenon of individuality 

or personality of the human soul was lost sight of. The 37. 

■^ . Individual 

individual self was conceived as being merged into a self merged 

•^" ° ^ into general 

general self, the individual mind in the general mind, ^eif- 
and for a long time the interest of philosophical thought 
lay in showing how the general mind, which gradually 
drifted into the position of the Absolute, the spiritual 
One, developed and manifested itself in the many things 
and processes of nature and the community of individual 
minds which we call society or mankind. In the process 
of elevating the philosophical view above the individual, 
the casual, and the subjective, the greatest problem of 
psychology, the phenomenon of individuation, of Person- 
aUty, was either forgotten or its existence was actually 


As I stated above, this process of raising the discussion 
from the empirical, subjective, and individual level on to 
a higher abstract, objective, and ideal level was only the 
philosophical reflex of that ideal movement 1 which char- 

^ That this movement was very 
general before the appearance of the 
critical philosophy may be proved 
in many instances to which I shall 
have occasion to refer in the sequel. 
That Kant himself was an independ- 
ent representative of this movement 
before he became generally known 
may nowhere be seen better than if 
we study the personal life and de- 
velopment of Herder. This sub- 
ject has been so fully and so ably 
treated by R. Haym in 'Herder 
nach seinem Leben und seinen 
Werken' (2 vols., 1880-85), that a 
perusal of this work will go a long 
way to introduce the reader to the 
connection in which the spirit of 
Kant's philosophy stands with the 
general thought of the age, as also 

to the very important contrasts 
which exist between them. Herder 
was an enthusiastic pupil of Kant, 
as he himself fully testified in 
many of his writings, even when 
he later on declined to adopt and 
entirely failed to grasp what was 
most original, stimulating, and 
fruit-bearing in Kant's systematic 
works. He has proclaimed, in terms 
which remind us of passages in the 
Prelude of Wordsworth, how he, 
a youth of eighteen years (1762), 
felt himself elevated and borne 
aloft by Kant's teaching which 
formed an epoch in his life. *' I 
have had the good fortune," he 
says, " to know a philosopher who 
was my master. He, in the years of 
his prime, had the cheerfulness of a 

t; CI 








Creation of 


acterised German thought, literature, and culture during 
the last quarter of the eighteenth and the first 
third of the nineteenth century, covering a period of 
about sixty years: I there defined this movement as 
being led by the ideal of humanity. We may now 
define it as an endeavour to elevate the minds of men, 
to introduce a higher conception of the object of life and 
of the dignity of the human mind. This endeavour to 
elevate by the creation of ideals was in one form or 
other common to all the great leaders in thought and 
life during that period. This process of elevation or of 
idealisation assumed a tangible form and became a 
historical force in two definite directions. The first of 
these was the educational movement, which itself has 
Educational again two distinct issues. The earlier one was the 
widespread interest in popular education, the later 
one was that referring to the higher or learned educa- 

Immanuel Kant ; his figure stands 
agreeably before me" (Haym, vol. 

i. p. 31). _ . ,. 

Herder also followed Kant in his 
criticism of the prevailing phil- 
osophy of the Aufklarung, m his 
dislike of traditional metaphysics of 
the school which he characteristi- 
cally terms Averroism, and in his 
proposal to define the powers and 
the limits of human reason. But 
when Kant stepped forward with 
his own transcendental philosophy 
Herder seemed incapable of follow- 
ing him. Kant, on his part, hardly 
did justice to the far-reaching and 
suggestive writings of Herder, which 
in a poetical, attractive, but desul- 
tory manner led the way into newly 
discovered regions of anthropology 
and the philosophy of history. Ail 
this will be found elaborately treated 
in Haym's volumes. 

youth ; his open forehead, made 
for thought, was the abode of un- 
disturbed cheerfulness and joy; 
thoughtful speech flowed from his 
lips ; wit and humour were at his 
command, and his instructive utter- 
ance formed the most entertaining 
intercourse. With the same spirit 
in which he probed Leibniz, Wolff, 
Baumgarten, Hume, and unfolded 
the laws of Kepler, Newton, and 
the physicists, he also received the 
then appearing writings of Rousseau, 
his ' Emile ' and ' H^loise,' as also 
the most recent discovery in nature, 
appreciated them and always came 
back again to plain natural know- 
ledge and to the moral worth of 
man. ... He encouraged and 
forced you, in an agreeable way, to 
independent thought ; despotism 
was quite foreign to his mind. This 
man, whom I name with the great- 
est thankfulness and esteem, is 

tion. The former aimed at an education and elevation 
of the masses ; it centred in Pestalozzi, who was in- 
fluenced by Eousseau. It had a distinctly religious side, 
based upon an enlightened interpretation of Christian 
doctrine. The later educational movement aimed at an 
elevation of the middle and higher classes through a 
reformation of the teaching at the high schools and 
universities. It had a distinctly classical, in some 
instances even a romantic bias, but in some of the 
greatest leaders of thought, such as Lessing, Kant, 
Herder, Schiller, and Goethe, the process of education 
and elevation took a still higher flight, being conceived 
as the process of the education of mankind under Divine 
guidance. This fruitful but somewhat vague conception 4o. 

. The political 

assumed a more realistic aspect when the general tend- movement, 
ency of the age towards elevation and liberation was led 
into the channels of political life during the Anti- 
Napoleonic Ke volution, which crystallised into definite 
shapes in the administrative reforms led by Stein in 
Prussia, and culminated in the war of Liberation and 
the overthrow of foreign despotism. The general tend- 
ency towards liberation and elevation became a definite 
and real national movement, and, in this its realism, it 
was not infrequently opposed to the vagueness of those 
who would not descend from the ideal heights of Classi- 
cism and Eomanticism. Something of this realism attached 
also to the endeavours of popular educationalists who 
experienced the necessity of descending from the tran- 
scendental heights occupied by Kant and Fichte on to 
the level of practical psychology and pedagogics. It is 
known that Kant's academic teaching was in a different 






Return to 





J. F. Fries. 

Style from that of his published works ; Fichte, in the 
course of his academic and political activity, modified 
very considerably the manner in which he approached 
what always remained his characteristic point of view ; 
but the actual return from a purely rational to an 
empirical psychology was led by two educationalists— 
Herbart and Beneke. As stated in the beginning of 
this chapter, it was through them that psychology proper 
became a recognised branch of philosophical teaching. 
To these two names we may add that of J. F. Fries 
(1773-1843), who brought philosophy, as it were, back 
again from the transcendental to the empirical level.i 

In addition to this there were two distinct influences 
at work which co-operated with the movement just 
referred to in concentrating the attention of many think- 
ing minds upon definite psychological questions, such as 
the nature and destiny of the human soul. The first 
of these influences came from the side of the natural 
sciences, which, mainly under the leadership of Johannes 

osophie' (1822), in the following 
words addressed to a student: 
" Young man, if you manage after 
three years of arduous study to 
understand and appreciate this 
book, you may leave the university 
with a conviction that you have 
employed your time better than 
most of your fellow-students (see 
Henke, 'Jacob Friedrich Fries, 
1867, p. 226). To both of these 
directions of Fries' speculation! 
shall refer in later chapters. Fries 
was also one of the first who led 
psychological research in the direc- 
tion of anthropology. His 'Hand- 
buch der psychischen Anthropo- 
logic' appeared in two volumes 
in 1820. 

1 The importance of IVW phil- 
osophy lay mainly in two very 
different directions. First, in his 
philosophy of religion, in which he 
assimilates ideas independently ex- 
pressed by Jacobi and deals — as 
Schleiermacher did more funda- 
mentally—with religion as a psy- 
chological phenomenon. Secondly, 
in his philosophy of nature, which, 
in opposition to that of Schelling, 
approached more to the position 
occupied in this country by natural 
philosophy. In this respect he was 
probably the only contemporary 
German philosopher who was 
noticed and appreciated by Gauss. 
The celebrated naturalist, Schlei- 
den, tells us how Gauss referred to 
Fries' * Mathematische Naturphil- 



Miiller and E. H. Weber, had through physiological 43. 

o r J i:> Influence of 

inquiries approached the phenomenon of consciousness physiology, 
in the highest forms of organic life. Single phenomena 
of conscious life, notably those referring to the organs 
or processes of sensation, had been subjected to minute 
observation, measurement, and experimentation ; the 
question presented itself. What position has the phy- 
siologist to take up to the problems of the inner life ? 
As already stated in the earlier part of this chapter, 
this serious and fundamental question was taken up 
by the editor and the writers of that important dic- 
tionary of physiology which began to be published in 
1842. The editor was a celebrated professor of physi- 
ology at Gottingen, Rudolf Wagner. Among the con- 
tributors was his colleague, the successor to Herbart in 
the chair of philosophy, Hermann Lotze. The position 
which the former took up was essentially dualistic : soul 
and body were two substantial principles, the relation 
of which was not clearly defined or definable ; both 
principles, however, worked together in producing the 
higher life of organised beings. To a dualism in this 
form Lotze objected, inasmuch as he maintained that 
for the student of nature all observable processes within 
the organism came under the rule of a definite and all- 
pervading mechanism. Vital forces were not to be intro- 
duced into the study of nature, and, if they existed, they 
would be of no use to the physiologist, who has to look 
merely for such mechanical, physical, and chemical pro- 
cesses as can be explained by resorting to such laws 
and agencies as are laid down in the sciences of 
mechanics, physics, and chemistry. Nevertheless Lotze 







on Hegel. 

in his ' Physiology of the Soul ' not only retained this 
latter term as denoting a definite substantial existence, 
but he thought it necessary to introduce the study of 
" medical psychology " by a lengthy discussion on the 
essence, and even the location, of the soul in the body. 
Through these writings the problem was brought under 
the immediate attention of naturalists. 

The second influence which forced the central psycho- 
lo<^ical problem into the foreground was the searching 
analysis to which the arguments and conceptions of the 
Hec-elian philosophy— that final consummation of the 
idealistic course of thought-were subjected by Ludwig 
Feuerbach. This analysis was very much provoked by 
the attempts of the disciples of Hegel to show that 
Hegel's philosophy of religion supported the orthodox 
conceptions regarding the soul, immortality, and the 
Deity, and still more when the whole doctrme became, 
as it were, an instrument of a reactionary and illiberal 
movement in Prussian ecclesiastical and political circles. 
The champions of freedom of thought, with which the 
systems of the ideal philosophy from Kant onward 
had hitherto allied themselves, were not slow or unsuc- 
cessful in showing that the philosophy of Hegel lent 
itself to an entirely different interpretation; that, m 
fact the conceptions of individuality, personality, and 
immortaUty, harmonised very awkwardly with that 
general process of absorbing all individual life and 
thought in a general panpsychism, panlogism, and pan- 
theism, which left no room for separate existences. 
Feuerbach, in drawing the ultimate consequences of the 
idealistic speculation, worked into the hands of many 

thinkers who had approached the subject from a purely 
naturalistic point of view. Thus we see that the age 
was ripe for a discussion of the soul problem, die 45. 

•^ Die Seelen- 

Seelenfrage. Scientific, educational, psychological, phil- ^^age. 
osophical, and religious interests combined to place it 
in the foreground. It was taken up, as I stated 
above, in a conservative spirit, as a question of the 
day, by Eudolf "Wagner himself, in an address .which 
he delivered at the meeting of the German Association 
of Sciences, which took place at Gottingen in the year 
1854. The challenge which was thus thrown out was 
taken up by Karl Vogt,^ who, in various pamphlets ^ 
and by characteristic phrases, stigmatised the position 
as dualistic and untenable, spoke of the genuine 
Grottingen Seelensuhstanz, and opened the long campaign 
which goes under the name of the materialistic con- 
troversy. In it thinkers of "all shades and opinions 
took part. It resulted in an enormous popular litera- 
ture, in which the extreme watchwords of the naturalistic 
school played a great part, being, if not really more 
intelligible, still seemingly more easily assimilated by 
the popular mind. In many instances they allied them- 
selves with political and social radicalism, and, later on, 
with the growing industrialism and the newly - born 
material prosperity of the German nation, which they 
supplied with a shallow but convenient creed. 

I have in the foregoing attempted to show how the 
great psychological problems were approached in the 
three different countries during the course of the first 

^ See for details of the various 
authors and their publications the 

note to page 197 in the early part 
of this chapter. 

- ■ ■y jj.j. i^MU i P J-"j*" ^i Mi .. I ' . ■ ■- ■ iW" 

W ULJW I l ' .j ■» ■ ■■ »« 





half of the nineteenth century. In this country and 
in Germany we witness independent movements which, 
however, about the middle of the century, had in their 
natural development approached each other. The mutual 
influence of the philosophies of the two countries was 
not important up to the time when Sirmiiam Hamilton 
introduced the st udy of Kant in this country, and when 
"Beneke and others in Germany drew attention to some 
of the writings of Bentham, Mill, and others. In France, 
as we have seen, there existed a lively interest m psycho- 
logical questions ; the influence of Maine de Biran, how- 
ever the most original of French psychologists, remained 
somewhat in the background, whilst the great develop- 
ment of the natural and medical sciences favoured those 
researches which approached mental phenomena from 
their physical aspects, and among these prominently also 
from the pathological side. The greatest thinker of the 
scientific school, whose importance became gradually re- 
cognised since English philosophers had drawn attenton 
to his writings, Auguste Comte, reduced, in his earlier 
writings, all psychology to biology. Psychology proper 
lived on under the influence of the Scottish school in 
the writings of the eclectic school, many members of 
which drew attention to the new origins which they 
announced as being contained in the writings of Maine 
de Biran. Psychological research in all the three 
countries, though mostly preserving its genuine 
character in this country, was nevertheless largely 
affected by the transcendental movement which, m 
Germany, for a long time kept psychology proper m 
check, which in France diverted it into the channels 




of eclecticism, but which in England attained to a 
marked influence only after the middle of the century. 
This influence of the transcendental movement may be 
defined by saying that it pushed into the foreground 
those problems which in the older philosophy had been 
dealt with under the title of rational psychology or 
pneumatology. In contradistinction to empirical psy- 
chology, which aims at a simple description of the 
phenomena of the inner life, rational psychology aimed 
at answering those questions v/hich form the ground- 
work of a reasoned creed (Weltanschauung). Speaking 
in a general way, it may be said that in Germany the 
formation of a philosophical creed was the all-absorbing 
interest up till the middle of the century, after the 
failure of which the more empirical treatment received 
long - delayed attention ; that in England empirical 
studies which had been roaming about at large and 
without any definite systematic organisation, accumu- 
lating a large amount of valuable material, awakened, 
greatly under the influence of the transcendental move- 
ment, to the necessity of attacking the great questions 
of the soul, its nature, its destiny, and its place in the 
Divine Order, — in fact, to the necessity of forming a 
rational or reasoned creed. Among those who recog- 
nised that this task could no longer be postponed, 
stand out prominently Herbert Spencer, John Stuart 
Mill in his later writings, and George Henry Lewes.^ 
The eclectic school in France, with Victor Cousin at 

/ G. H. Lewes' (1817-78) prin- 
cipal works referring to this matter 
are 'Problems of Life and Mind' 
(Ist series), ' The Foundations of a 

Creed' (2 vols., 1874 and 1875) 
and ' The Study of Psychology ; 
its Object, Scope, and Method ' 



m I 


.^ ^^ne' j B&trjff i-TSit imMi^ ' ^ 





its head, oscillated between the empirical and tran- 
scendental, an idealistic and a traditional, point of 
view, without consistently maintaining either. 


In consequence of the different points of view from 
which the psychological problem had been approached, 
and which began to influence each other shortly after 
the middle of the century, a varied and widespread 
interest was created in this, the oldest of philosophical 
problems. To grasp and do justice to the many-sided 
aspects which it now presented there was required 
an intellect of the high order represented in modern 
European philosophy pre-eminently by Leibniz. It had 
to combine the common-sense aspect of Britain with the 
metaphysical of Germany ; the physiological and patho- 
logical of the Continental naturalists with the spiritual- 
istic of the religious thinker ; and lastly, the mathematical 
with the poetical spirit. At the same time, it had to 
rise to a higher form of eclecticism than that which was 
characteristic of the French school which bore the name. 
There lived at that time only one thinker of the first 
order who, through education and individual taste and 
sympathy, possessed both the universal knowledge and the 
high mental qualifications necessary for this task. This 
was Herma nn Lotze (1817-81), who for this reason 
stanJsTasit were, in the centre of the philosophical, 
and especially the psychological, thought of the century. 
His points of contact with all the then existing move- 



ments of thought are very marked. It is true that he * 
was not a great student of modern French or English 
thought. We have seen, however, that the position 
taken up by the English school had already, in Lotze's 
time, been reached in the writings of Herbart and 
Beneke; and so far as the researches of French physi- 
ologists and medicals are concerned, they were at that 
time followed with the greatest interest in Germany, 
in the schools of Berlin, Leipzig, and Vienna, between 
which and the medical schools of Paris there existed a 
lively intercourse of students and studies. 

In fact, Lotze himself came to philosophy from the ^ rSches 
side of the study of medicine ; some of his earlier writings ^^om the^^ 
having the object of counteracting the vagueness of medical medicine, 
philosophy in Germany by introducing the clearer defini- 
tions of mechanical science. But Lotze was quite as 
much interested in the transcendental movement, and 
from the beginning of his literary career urged the 
necessity of approaching all philosophical problems 
from the point of view of a definite creed, a central 
conception. His training was also equally balanced by 
realistic and classical studies, and his spiritual home was 
in the classical ideals of the great period of German 
literature headed by Goethe and Herder. Next to ^ 49. 

•^ Connection 

Herbart, from whom he acknowledges having received ^^^^^J 
much stimulation, he was the first systematic philo- ^*"^^* 
sopher of Germany who gave psychology a prominent 
and foremost place in his speculations, and who made 
important contributions to empirical psychology.^ Psy- 

^ The broad view which Lotze by historians of philosophy, and 
took of psychological problems has this for several reasons. His first 
hardly been sufficiently recognised elaborate tract ( ' Seele und Seelen- 




IT-—"T^ nfflLr ff iltj-] 

u;J^i&JSSi M taiM^^ 





chology was to him not a purely empirical science, as 

psychology, it was to the English school ; it had to solve the great 

problems referring to the soul, and was thus related 

to metaphysics/ It is therefore not to be wondered at 

M i 

! I 

leben') on the subject was pub- 
lished in the third volume of Rudolf 
Wagner's Dictionary in the year 
1846. His latest contribution is the 
third section of his 'Metaphysics,' 
published in 1879 as the second 
volume of his (uncompleted) ' Sys- 
tem of Philosophy.' Between these 
two publications, embracing a period 
of thirty-three years, there lie the 
W'orks, through which he became 
better known in wider circles, not- 
ably his 'Medical Psycholog}',' his 
' Microcosmos,' and his courses of lec- 
tures, regularly delivered annually 
on the subject. Of these, in their 
final and most matured form, a 
syllabus was published after Lotze's 
death by Prof. Rehnisch of Gotting- 
en. The inspection, however, of 
different copies of the lecture notes 
taken down by hearers shows that 
he approached and introduced the 
subject variously from different 
sides. Also the publication of the 
* Kleiue Schriften ' in four volumes 
by D. Peipers proves sufficiently 
that all through his literary career 
Lotze recurred again and again to 
psychology as one of the principal 
subjects of his philosophical in- 
terest. It was a disadvantage that 
his first tract, which mapped out 
as it were the field of psychological 
research, was buried in the volumes 
of a special psychological encyclo- 
paedia, whereas it really was ad- 
drelsed as much to philosophers as 
to naturalists. In this respect it 
had a similar fate to that which 
has befallen in this country Prof. 
James Ward's psychological treat- 
ises—buried in the volumes of the 
*Britannica' or of 'Mind.' In 
both cases original psychological 
aspects and a definite programme 

of research became better known 
only through those who came 
primarily under the influence of 
these suggestive treatises and 
elaborated some of their ideas in 
independent works. Another reason 
why Lotze's deeper psychological 
speculations were for a long time 
little known and frequently mis- 
understood is to be found in the 
fact that his name was mainly con- 
nected with his theory of "Local 
Signs," a hypothesis which led 
to much controversy and various 
emendations, and to which I drew 
attention in the chapter on the 
'• Psycho- Physical view of Nature," 
in the second volume of this 
History, p. 507 et seq. That Lotze 
adhered, all through his many 
deliverances, to a metaphysical as a 
necessarj' counterpart of the purely 
empirical treatment of psychology, 
and that he gave expression to this 
in the latest of his Works, was also 
a reason for passing them by during 
a period which prided itself on hav- 
ing found its way out of meta- 
physics. That nevertheless such 
discussions are inevitable and re- 
current has of late become evident 
in the most recent psychological 
i literature in Germany as in other 
1 countries. 

1 The peculiarity of Lotze s 
psychological as also of his other 
writings and of his lectures con- 
sists to a large extent in this, that 
he seeks, first of all, clearly to 
define the subject of which he treats, 
and notably the main problems ot 
which it forms the centre, ihus, 
in his earliest tract, he starts with 
the question. What is it that in- 
duces us to speak of the soul as a 
special entity ? This question he 



that he should have been the first among the then 
living thinkers to take up the soul problem when it 
reached its acute form in the beginning of the second 
half of the century, and that a large portion of his 
writings should be devoted to effecting a clearance in 
the materialistic controversy. 

The circumspection which is characteristic of his 51. 

■•• His circum- 

dealing with this as with many other polemical ques- spection. 
tions explains how he was frequently misunderstood, 
classed now with the materialists, now with the obdurate 
metaphysicians, and again called a disciple of Herbart 
or of Leibniz, or of other earlier or latter-day thinkers. 
Again, he has, though uninfluenced by them, some points 
in common with the French eclecticists ; adopting, as he 


answers by insisting on three points. 
First, the existence of phenomena 
of consciousness which are utterly 
incomparable with those of the 
outer world ; secondly, the exist- 
ence of a unity through which they 
are connected ; and thirdly, the 
active principle for which we claim 
a certain amount of freedom. He 
admits that the last is not a proven 
fact, as the two former ones are, 
but that it acquires its importance 
through the overwhelming ethical 
interests which attach to it. The 
problem of the soul is thus for him 
not a purely scientific one, as is the 
case with other subjects of research 
—it is one in which we have a 
special interest for reasons which 
lie beyond both the empirical and 
the metaphysical, the descriptive 
and the explanatory, treatment of 
the subject. At the end of his 
earliest tract he sums up the object 
of psychology in words something 
like these : a complete psychology 
would have to put and solve the 
following problems, (1) a dialectic 
deduction of the phenomena of 

psychical life, and an interpretation 
of their ideal importance in the 
significant totality of things ; (2) a 
consideration of the phases of de- 
velopment of psychical life. This 
would include an investigation 
whether a reality is conceivable, 
the inner nature of which is not 
essentially psychical ; (3) a descrip- 
tion of the physical and mechanical 
conditions with which in our ob- 
servation the life of the soul is 
connected, a physiology of the 
soul ; (4) a mechanism of psychical 
life, leaving it doubtful whether 
this applies in all individual cases 
and is not dependent on subject- 
ive coefficients; (5) a psychology 
of individualities such as has been 
hitherto left to works of fiction ; 
(6) a confirmation of our ideas re- 
ferring to the fate of souls in the 
totality of things (see * Kleine 
Schriften,' vol. ii. p. 203). These 
problems remained before the mind 
of Lotze through all his writings, 
but he is fully aware of the limits 
placed in the way of the solution of 
some of them. 



does, valuable ideas from many and apparently antagon- 
istic sources. But he is distinguished from them by his 
frequently successful endeavours to harmonise apparent 
contrasts in a higher unity. Thus we find that he was 
early regarded as a protagonist for a mechanical view of 
all phenomena, and that much later his metaphysical 
position has been adopted by theologians of the positive 
school. Accordingly, his philosophical writings occupy, 
not only in time but also in importance, a central 
position in the philosophical thought of the nineteenth 
century, and we shall in the sequel have again and 
again to revert to them. 

As I said above, modern psychology may be dated 
from the appearance of Lotze's writings. But if we 
wish to find out what is meant by modern psychology, 
it is of interest to note the very different con- 
52. ceptions we meet with on this point. I single out 
^^r^t"""" three prominent writers who have delivered themselves 
on the subject, and who may be considered as represent- 

Lectures was not yet completely 
published, and when little had been 
written in the way of criticism even 
in Germany. Since that time a very 
large literature has sprung up both 
in German and in English, and a 
great deal has been done to explain, 
to criticise, and to make his teach- 
ings better known. To some of 
these important contributions I 
shall have occasion to refer in the 
sequel. There seems to me no 
doubt that the spirit and manner 
of his speculation is more and more 
entering into philosophical litera- 
ture, and that a study even of his 
less known writings would be 
peculiarly appropriate in the present 
state of thought in all the three 
countries I am dealing with. 


1 Outside of Germany the writ- 
ings of Lotze have received most 
attention in this country and in the 
United States of America, least 
in France. Most of his important 
works have been translated into 
English, and have run through 
several editions. I am not aware 
that of any of his larger works a 
complete translation has been pub- 
lished in France, though prominent 
thinkers, such as Renouvier,Fouillee, 
and Boutroux, take note of his 
teachings. I regret that the latest 
edition of the 'Encyclopaedia 
Britannica' contains only a muti- 
lated reprint of an article I sup- 
plied in the year 1882. It was 
written shortly after the death of 
Lotze, when the Syllabus of his 


» llL -M llWillig" 

^ m "m li y^' i f ""ff '^^ "^Tryr^^''"^^ 



ing the three principal lines on which psychology has 
developed in the course of the last forty years. The 
first writer is M. Eibot in France, the second Professor 
James 'Ward in Englan d, the third Ed uard von Har t- 
mann i n German y^ 

In dealing with them as representatives of three 
distinct lines of research, I shall have occasion to 
mention many other names, some of which are of equal 
importance. But it is impossible, in a field so largely 
cultivated as has been that of psychology within the last 
forty years, to do more than sample the fruits which it 
has produced. The choice also of special authors and 
writings is a matter of individual taste, and cannot avoid 
being to some extent casual. 

It has been claimed for psychology that it has grown 
into an independent science, that it has become detached 
from the parent stock. If this is so, it consists like other 
sciences to a large extent of knowledge brought together 
from many sides and by many workers, but only partially 
systematised and unified. As it is the youngest of the 
sciences, its fragmentary nature will be more pronounced. 
It will stand, as it were, at the furthest end in that 
hierarchy of the sciences, specified by Comte, which 
begins with the most perfect of all natural sciences, viz., 
physical astronomy. M. Eibot, who has himself con- 
tributed largely to modern psychological literature, both 
from the physiological and introspective points of view, is 
well aware of this. Probably no two works have done 
more to diffuse clear ideas as to the different lines of 
psychological research than his treatise on ' Contemporary 
English Psychology,' which appeared in 1870, and that 











on ' Contemporary German Psychology/ which appeared 
in 1879. M. Taine had already vigorously opposed the 
French psychology of the eclectic school,' and he 
published in the same year with Eibot's first-named 

1 Hippolyte AdolpheTaineXipSi | 
93) may perhaps be considered as i 
'tEe first among French thinkers of , 
the second half of the nineteenth 
centurv who aroused renewed^- i 
terest m the science of^^gsjchology. 
""fe^^ so by a series of articles 
which he published in the 'Revue 
de rinstruction Publique ' in the 
years 1855 and 1856, and which 
appeared as a separate volume in 
the beginning of the year 185/. 
It was a virulent attackoiOhe, 
official school of philoiopHyheaded 
by Victor Cousin, dealing with 
Laromiguiere, Royer CoUard (un 
dictateur), Maine de Biran (un 
abstracteur de quintessence), Cousin 
(un orateur), and Jouffroy (un 
homme int^rieur). The title of 
the first edition, iLes Philosophes 
/ Fran?ai8 du XIX« Biecle,' was 

Y 'changed in later editions to 'Les 

■ Philosophes Classiques au XIX® 

Siecle en France.' He there shows 
how the valuable ideas of the 
eclectic school can be traced back 
to the writings of Condillac, and 
that what was added under the 
influence of Scottish and German 
thought by means of a bril- 
liant rhetoric and great personal 
influence does not mark a sub- 
stantial progress,— such must be 
attained bv the methods successfully 
introduced in the natural sciences ; 
but he does not adopt the Positivism 
of Comte, which at that time con- 
demned all psychology, reducing it 
to a branch of physiology. It is 
interesting to note that he approves 
of the general scheme of Hegel, 
though condemning its metaphy- 
sical elaboration. The preface to a 
later edition he concludes by say- 

ing: **Such is the idea of nature 
expounded by Hegel through 
myriads of hypotheses, accom- 
panied by the impenetrable darkness 
of the most barbarous style, with 
a complete reversal of the natural 
movement of the mind. One comes 
to see that this philosophy has for 
its origin a certain notion of caus- 
ality. I have tried here to justify 
and to apply this notion. I have 
neither here" nor elsewhere tried to 
do anvthing more." In his later 
work, 'quoted in the text, he gave 
a specimen of this new psychologry, 
beingjargely i^uided by the writings 
of Johu-SLtuart Mill and of Bam, 
wHom he may be said to have in- 
troduced into France ; but he goes 
beyond them by bringing in, at the 
end, a kind of metaphysic. Of this, 
Mill in his review of Taine's book 
('Fortnightly Review,' July 1870, 
reprinted in ' Dissertations and Dis- 
cussions,' vol. iv. p. Ill) says: 
"When M. Taine goes on to claim 
for the first principles of other 
sciences —, of mechanics — a 
similar origin and evidence to what 
he claims for those of geometry, 
and on the strength of that evidence 
attributes to them an absolute 
truth valid for the entire universe, 
and independent of the limits of 
experience, he falls into what 
seemed to us still greater fallacies. 
Through establishing psychology 
on an independent basis, and 
notably through his doctrine of the 
milieuy Taine stands out as one of 
tHT' principal founders of that 
modified Positivism which, as we 
sTTall see in the sequel, plays such 
an important part in recent French 



treatise his celebrated work 'De rintellicrence,' in 
which, in addition to the influence of Condillac, he had 
drawn attention to the writings of John Stuart Mill and 
Bain, to that branch of English thought which had 
developed independently, and which stood latterly as it 
were in opposition to the Scottish school favoured in 
France by the eclectics. M. Eibot, in introducing con- 
temporary English psychology to French readers, does not 
refer to the Scottish school at all, and only just mentions 
by name Hamilton, Whewell, Mansel, and Ferrier. His 
main object is to deal with Mill, Spencer, Bain, and Lewes. 
As M. Taine introduced the philosophy of John Stuart 
Mill, so M. Kibot introduced that of Herbert Spencer 
into France ; moreover, the two introductions which he 
prefixed to his two treatises constituted a kind of 
manifesto : the earlier one in favour of the inductive as 
against the older metaphysical method, the later one 
recommending the experimental methods which had been 
developed in Germany, notably by Fechner and Wundt. 
Accordingly he not only places both the English and the 
Grerman development in opposition to what he calls the 
older or metaphysical psychology, but he also draws a 
sharp distinction between the purely introspective or 
analytical methods of the English school and the novel 
experimental and exact methods of the German school. 
Both, he maintains, make large use of physiological 
discoveries; but he significantly remarks, that on the 
one side the English psychologists enlarge and interpret 
their introspective data by borrowing from the labours 
of physiologists, whereas the later leaders and represent- 
atives of the German school are physiologists who have 


. :r- —r-'- - " -'■-«»^---"^'af<«««aa«SKg;^^a^^ 




advanced from the study of physiology to that of the 
phenomena of conscious life. Thus his German treatise 
deals almost entirely with physiological and experimental 
psychology, the development of the Herbartian school in 
the direction of the psychology of the objective mind 
receiving only short notice, and no mention being made 
of important psychological analyses of fundamental 
psychical forces such as are, e.g., contained in the works 
of Schleiermacher, Feuerbach, Schopenhauer, and Yon 
Hartmann. Nevertheless it may be noted here that the 
very different psychological analysis of the phenomena of 
religious life by the two first-named thinkers, and the 
emphasis laid by Schopenhauer on the will and by Yon 
Hartmann on the unconscious, have probably done more 
to change and deepen our ideas on the life of the human 
soul than all the purely psychological analysis and 
researches of the introspective and experimental schools 
put together. So far as the experimental or exact 
methods are concerned, I have reported so fully upon 
• them in the chapter on Psycho-Physics in the second 
volume of this History that I need not in this connec 
tion say anything more about them. 

But M. Eibot and the school which he represents m 

France have enlarged the field of psychological research 

54 in a special direction, of which already the older French 

?sy^tiogy. psychologists, who are classed among the " Ideologues,' 

had a very distinct notion. In their writings we read ot 

a definite branch of science called " Nosologie," a theory 

of disease, and of the importance of this science both for 

psychology and medicine. In fact, the tendency to 

treat of the abnormal states, both of the body and the 



mind, in the interest of psychological research, goes 
back to the age of the Encyclopaedists, Diderot having 
written a treatise on the deaf and dumb. Nothing of 
importance, however, was done till, within recent times, 
and greatly under the influence of M. Eibot,^ experi- 

^ Th^odule-Armand Ribot (born 
1839) had al'ieady lu -h4&--£arliest 
work, mentioned in the text, on 
' Contempor ary Psycholog yin Eng- 
lancTT^ marEe3 out on a large scale 
tKe field of psychological research 
in the following words (1st ed., p. 
36) : " We may comprise first of all 
under the name oi general ^psychology 
the study of the phenomena of 
consciousness ; sensations, thought, 
emotions, volitions, &c., considered 
under their most general aspects. 
This study, which must be the 
point of departure and the basis of 
all others, is the only one which so 
far has been cultivated by psy- 
chologists. It is, however, clear 
that general psychology must profit 
by all the discoveries in its sub- 
ordinated branches. It will be 
completed, first of all, by a ccym- 
parative psychology, of which we 
have tried to show the object and 
the importance ; further, by a 
study of anomalies or monstrosities, 
which we may term psychological 
teratology. It is needless to demon- 
strate how useful the study of de- 
viations is for the complete under- 
standing of phenomena ; but what 
is remarkable is the neglect of psy- 
chology on this point. Outside of 
the 'Letter on the Blind,' by 
Diderot, which does not give what 
it promises, the pages of Dugald 
Stewart on James Mitchell, and 
some scattered observations, psy- 
chology has completely closed its 
eyes to anomalies and exceptions. 
It is the physiologists who have 
drawn from the curious 'History 
^^ Laura Bridgman ' the conclusions 
^nich it suggests ; conclusions quite 


contrary to the doctrine of trans- 
formed sensation, and which, 
founded on facts, are by no means 
in the vague style of ordinary argu- 
ments. A deaf or a blind man, 
one originally deprived of some 
sense, is he not a subject specially 
fit to be observed, and to which 
we can apply one of the most 
rigorous processes : the method of 
differences ? Have the study of 
cases of folly, though quite in- 
complete as yet, been so far fruit- 

In his later work on 'Contem- 
porary German Psychology,' the 
term "experimental," which in 
the earlier treatise meant rather 
"empirical," the psychology of 
observation, than the psychology of 
experiment, is extended to embrace 
the new psychology of Germany, 
which has recourse in a measure 
to experiment. It is there argued 
that the older method "is powerless 
to pass much beyond the level of 
common -sense." As its main repre- 
sentative the works of Bain are 
specially commended. "It is in 
the largest and best sense a de- 
scriptive study. In Germany, on 
the contrary, those who are work- 
ing to construct an empirical psy- 
chology accord little place to 
description. To characterise their 
work we must employ a term which 
has been much abused in our day, 
but which is proper here, i.e., 
physiological psychology. Almost 
all of them are physiologists, who, 
with their habits of mind and the 
methods peculiar to their science, 
have touched upon sorne points 
of psychology" ('German Psy- 







i i 


mental research in psychology was pushed into the 
region of pathology. In France, within the last thirty 
years, a whole literature has sprung up, cultivating the 
large region of nervous affections and mental maladies, 
constituting what may be called abnormal psychology, to 
which would also belong the psychology of criminality, 
of degeneration, and of such exceptional conditions as 
the hypnotic state, &c. M. Kibot himself has pubhshed 
valuable and original treatises on 'The Diseases of 
Memory' (1881), * The Diseases of the Will' (1883), 
and 'The Diseases of Personality' (1885). As is well 
known, these writings have opened out quite a new 
field of research on the Continent, and have influenced 
many neighbouring provinces which belong to the 
borderland of psychology, law, and economics.^ 



chology,' &c., Eng. trans., by 
Baldwin, 1899, p. 12). But M. 
Ribot does not omit to mention 
that the German method of ex- 
periment touches only a certain 
limited region of facts, and does 
not touch the central group of psy- 
chical states. This has become 
more evident since that time. 
(See above, vol. ii. p. 523.) 

1 It must not, however, be in- 
ferred that M. Ribot takes a narrow 
view of the problems of philosophy, 
or that he, so far as we know, 
belongs to the school represented 
in Germany by Fries, Beneke, and, 
in more recent times, by Prof. 
Theodor Lipps, who desire to found 
all philosophy upon psychology. 
The large and comprehensive view 
which he takes of philosophy in 
general is shown by the fact that 
he started in 1876 the monthly 
' Revue Philosophique de la France 
et de I'Etranger,' which although, 
especially in the beginning, favour- 
ing the new psychology, opens its 

pages to every philosophical opinion, 
and contains very important con- 
tributions by writers of very differ- 
ent schools ; also by the article he 
contributed to 'Mind' in the year 
1877 on "Philosophy in France," 
in which he gives a most lucid 
analysis of the then existing schools 
of philosophical thought and their 
leaders. He there also refers to a 
thinker who since that time has 
gained increasing influence and, in 
a different way from M. Ribot him- 
self, has brought some lines of 
French thought into closer contact 
with that of other European coun- 
tries, notably with the movement 
which centres in Kant's ' Criticism. 
This thinker is Charles Renouvier, 
who may be said to occupy m 
French thought a position similar 
to that of Lotze in Germany. In 
his 'Essais de Critique Generale 
(Ist ed. 1854-64), notably in the 
2nd edition (1875-96, 8 vols.), he, 
by a careful and circumspect criti- 
cism of the different ways in which 

Although in England this last-named branch of psy- 
chology has not remained unrepresented — as evidenced 
by the works of Henry Maudsley — the great bulk of 
psychological work has remained faithful to the tradi- 
tions handed down since the time of Locke. It has 
remained essentially introspective, being an analysis of 
the normal individual mind. In the year 1876 a 
quarterly review was started under the title 'Mind,' 55. 
and whilst this was intended to deal generally with c?S^m ^""^ 
philosophical subjects, it is significant that psychology is 
put into the foreground, for reasons clearly set out by 
the editor, Groom Eobertson, in his introductory dis- 
course. In fact, in England philosophy has — till quite 
recently — hardly professed to be anything else than 
philosophy of the human mind ; but it has been found 
necessary to define, within this large domain, the 
narrower provinces which have shown themselves capable 
of special cultivation. Thus the older and common title 
of philosophy of the human mind has been imperceptibly 
supplanted by other titles describing treatises which 
deal with special well-marked phenomena. Among 
these psychology and ethics are the most important. A 
separate analysis of the processes of scientific reasoning 
had been given by J. S. Mill, and A. Bain had in his 

the great philosophical problems 
have been approached, tries to clear 
the ground for the new philosophy, 
of which his ethical treatise, 'La 
Science de la Morale ' (2 vols., 1869), 
'8 the most important outcome. 
We shall see in the sequel how it 
has gained considerable influence, 
especially in the teaching of morals 
in the modem French schools. So 
liir as psychology is concerned, the 

second portion of the * Critique 
Generale' deals with this subject, 
but, as is the case in Lotze's meta- 
physics, rather from a rational 
than a purely empirical point of 
view, dealing with such questions 
as the Essence and Nature of the 
Soul, Certitude and Free Will- 
subjects not infrequently excluded 
altogether from modern works on 




two monumental works dealt with psychological pheno- 
mena in a purely descriptive and analytical fashion, 
working much with the principle of Association. General 
questions as to the Soul, its nature and destiny, are 
not discussed, being considered as metaphysical. But 
about the same time the necessity was felt of dealing 
with the general and fundamental problems of knowmg 
and being in an independent way. In the same degree 
as psychology has been made a special science, general 
philosophy and epistemologj' have received due attention 
from a different point of view and not infrequently by 

the same thinkers. 

The History of Philosophical Thought takes interest 
in Psychology from two distinct points of view, which 
are the same as it occupies with regard to all natural 
science. This twofold aspect has become more clearly 
defined, in the same degree as psychology has become a 
distinct science. So far as the researches of this special 
science are concerned, these lie outside and are mde- 
pendent of phUosophical reasoning, and will, like the 
researches in other natural sciences, change with the 
progress of empirical knowledge and the facts disclosed 
by ''observation, experiment, and analysis. But, like all 
other sciences, psychology must start with certam funda- 
mental conceptions, in the light of which the growing 
mass of detail accumulated by external and mternal 
observation, or by historical records, is arranged, classihed, 
and made accessible for the purpose of deductive reason- 
ina. Philosophy interests itself, firstly, in clearly setting 
out those fundamental notions, criticising them, and 
defining their scope and value, just in the same way as 



it recognises, criticises, and appreciates the funda- 
mental notions forming the starting ground in the 
sciences of dynamics, physics, chemistry, biology, &c. 
The second interest which philosophy takes in the 
researches of psychology, as they are now very generally 
carried on, is to answer the questions which, in this 
chapter, we have specifically defined as the Psychological 
Problem, the nature and essence of that special some- 
thing which we term the Mind or Soul. In one of the 
following chapters we shall, in a similar way, deal with 
the Problem of Nature, i.e., with attempts which have 
been put forward all through the century to answer 
questions as to Nature as a whole, its relation to Mind, 
which it, from one point of view, includes as much as 
from another point of view it is differentiated from it. 

Now, so far as the first philosophical interest is con- 
cerned, no one has done more to pass in review and 
criticise existing fundamental notions in psychology, and 
to prepare the ground for more adequate scientific treat- 
ment, than Prof. James Ward of Cambridge. In several 
articles which he published in 'Mind ' ^ on "Psychological 
Principles," he prepared his readers for an original and 
comprehensive sketch of modern psychology, which he 
gave in his article on " Psychology " in the * Encyclo- 
picdia Britannica' (1886).^ This article may be looked 
upon as a kind of manifesto, as a programme for 


^ " Psychological Principles " 
(' Mind,' vol. viii., 1883, and vol. xiii., 
1888) : " Modern Psychology, a Re- 
flection " (vol. ii., N.S.); "Assimi- 
lation and Association " (ibid., and 
vol. iii.) 

"^ The article was followed in the 
10th ed. of the * Britannica ' by an 

account of the general progress made 
in psychology during the last fifteen 
years of the century. The latest 
edition of the ' Britannica ' contains 
(vol. xxii. pp. 547-604) a very con- 
densed but comprehensive sketch 
of psychological theory at the 
present moment. 

James Ward. 






I )t 




modern psychological work. In the carrying out of 
some parts of this programme no one has been more 
successful than Prof. Stout.^ The new programme breaks 
with all the older psychologies, which it nevertheless 
estimates at their full value as preparatory phases in 
the development of the independent science of psychology. 
It will be useful to state shortly the main characteristics 
as thev have been most clearly explained by Prof. Ward 
on repeated occasions. To begin with, the new psycholog)^ 
should discard all metaphysical questions as to the soul, 
its substance, essence, or destiny. At the same time it 
has regard to, and implies, a subjective reference.^ It 

schools of philosophical thought. 
This work had already been begun 
by John Stuart Mill, and to some 
extent by Sir Wm. Hamilton m 
Scottish philosophy. The fact, 
however, that Mill had somewhat 
prematurely adopted his fathers 
Associationism in psychology, and 
Hamilton similarly a somewhat con- 
fused version of Kantism, had pre- 
vented both these thinkers from 
impartiallv and exhaustively re- 
viewing the situation before they 
ventured on their own constructive 
speculations. In both cases, how- 
ever, very striking dilemmas or 
paradoxes were the result ot 
premature generalisations, and 
these as well as those handed down 
in the writings of Hume have fur- 
nished valuable material to Prot. 
Ward for his timely criticism. 

2 Prof. Sorley informs me that 
in one of his earliest writings ( A 
General Analysis of Mind,' privately 
printed in 1880, published in the 
'Journal of Speculative Philosophy, 
1882) Ward remarks that, in previ- 
ous works on psychology, "though 
the special analyses and descrip- 
tions are excellent, the tout ensemble 
of mind is never exhibited at an , 

1 Notably in his ' Analytic Psy- 
chology ' (2 vols., 1896). It is sur- 
prising to see how little the original 
contributions of Prof. Ward, in lay- 
ing new foundations for psycho- 
logical research, have so far been 
noticed in German and French 
literature. Prof. Stout himself 
admits Ward's great influence on 
his own work, and Prof. Wm. James 
in his 'Principles of Psychology' 
(vol. ii. p. 282, 1891) refers to 
Ward's article in the ' Britannica 
as one to which he would have o wed- 
much had it appeared before his 
own thoughts were written down. 
Through his psychological treatises, 
as well as through his epistemo- 
logical work (* Naturalism and 
Agnosticism,' being the Gifford 
Lectures for 1896-1898 at Aber- 
deen), we may consider W'ard as 
occupying a position similar to 
that of Lotze in German and of 
Renouvier in French philosophical 
literature, representing on a com- 
prehensive scale the inevitable 
criticism called forth by the un- 
critical use, as fundamental notions, 
of a great variety of conceptions in 
psychological, logical, and epistemo- 
logical discussions in the existing 



deals with the facts of consciousness, meaning by con- 
sciousness the individual self. To avoid falling back 
into a discussion of abstract consciousness, the ob- 
ject of consciousness is defined as that continuum of 
(sensory and motor) ^presentations which to every person 
constitutes his actual self, as known by him. By in- 
troducing this term in the place of the more famil- 
iar expressions such as soul, mind, consciousness, ideas, 
&c., the various tendencies of older psychologies to 
become metaphysical, abstract, or intellectualistic, are 
guarded against. Further, by speaking of feeling, know- 
ing, and doing, instead of the intellect and the will, the 
older faculty-psychology is avoided ; the conception of a 
continuum, instead of that of separate sensations and ideas, 
guards the psychologist against that atomistic conception 
of the mental life which was common to the association- 
psychology in England, and to the psychology of the 
school of Herbart abroad.^ It is characteristic of Ward 

we lose sight of the wood among 
the trees " (p. 366) ; and he there 
puts forward the view, afterwards 
elaborated by him, that in every 
concrete "state of mind" there is 
presentation of an object or com- 
plex of objects to a subject ; this 
presentation entailing, on the part 
of the subject, both attention and 
change of feeling {i.e., pleasure or 
pain). By "subject" in this con- 
nection, he proposes to " denote the 
simple fact that everything mental 
is referred to a self" (p. 368) ; but 
adds that " it must be allowed that 
the attempt to legitimate this con- 
ception as a constituent element 
of experience is as much beyond 
the range of psychology as the 
attempt to invalidate it even as 
a formal or regulative conception. 
If Hume is wrong on the one side. 

Reid is equally at fault on the 
other" (p. 369). 

^ Although the metaphysical con- 
ception of the soul is discarded, 
there remains in Ward's funda- 
mental psychological position the 
primary dualism of subject and 
object ; the former as a central and 
uniting point of reference, the " I " 
of our language as the knowing, 
feeling, and willing subject which 
in and through this knowing, feel- 
ing, and willing is connected with 
and stands over against its sensory 
or motor-presentations or objects. 
Through this scheme the atomising 
tendency of the older faculty-psy- 
chology, which analysed the one 
subject into a variety of distinct 
powers or forces, is quite as much 
avoided as, on the other side, 
through the idea of the continuum 










to make a systematic attempt to elaborate psychology as 
an independent science ; in this he contrasts with some 
of his predecessors {e.g., Bain), who endeavoured equally 
to give scientific character to psychology, but helped 
themselves out by reference to physiological facts. 
Great care is also taken to get behind the words and 
terms of language which are habitually used in describ- 
ing mental states, and which have the tendency to put in 
the place of the inner world an artificial and conven- 
tional picture or image of it.^ 

In his more recent deliverances on the subject Prof. 
Ward gives further precision to the definition of 
psychology as an analysis of individual experience. In 
emphasising individual experience as not consisting of 
definite and separated sensations or ideas, but as a 
continuum or a plenum, a new problem arises for the 
psychologist which did not exist for earlier schools, which, 
starting from verbal expressions, dealt with what might 

(or actual together) of presenta- 
tions, the disintegration of the 
association-psychology is got over. 

^ One of the most important 
■deliverances of Ward, especially for 
an historian of thought, is his 
article in 'Mind' (1893, p. 54), 
■entitled " Modem Psychology : a 
Reflection." It was occasioned by 
a controversy started in Germany 
among the followers of Prof. Wundt 
over the theory of the latter regard- 
ing apperception and his search for 
a centre or organ of apperception. 
Some of his disciples have not been 
able to follow him into this specu- 
lation, which indicates the difficulty 
of all purely psycho-physical or 
physiological psychology in finding 
an expression for, and dealing with, 
the unity of mental life. In fact, 
they cannot find an entry into that 

central region which has always 
been held sacred by the introspect- 
ive school. "Spite of all," Ward 
saye, " there are, I believe, good 
grounds for the view that the dif- 
ference as regards the immediacy 
between feeling and presentation 
is a difference of kind ; that feeling 
is not obscure cognition nor sensa- 
tion objectified feeling; that feel- 
ing, in a word, is always subjective 
and sensations always objective, 
objective of course I mean in a 
psychological sense. According to 
this view, the duality of conscious- 
ness or the antithesis of subject 
and object is fundamental ; accord- 
ing to the opposite view, the differ- 
ence of subject and object gradually 
* emerges ' as the result of develop- 
ment or ' differentiation ' " (' Mind,' 
1893, p. 62). 

appear to them to be individual things or elements^ in 
the human mind. The problem which arises is to ex- 
plain how in this continual flow of the inner states, in 
this continuum of presentations, it comes that we single 
out and fix upon definite portions which, with the help 
of words, signs, and symbols, we are able to isolate and 
to describe. This is effected by the process of attention, 
of interest, or of conation. This brings at once the active 
factor into play. What in the older schools of psychology 
was looked upon as the passive and purely receptive side 
of mental life has disappeared. Not only do we hereby 
abandon Locke's tabula rasa, the unwritten sheet, but 
we do not separate and treat separately the intellect and 
the will in the way that even writers like Bain have still 

And lastly, the new psychology has come under the 
influence of the genetic view of nature, not only inasmuch 
as it studies the genesis of individual experience through 
infancy and childhood, but also by recognising the exist- 
ence of other and lower experiences than our own. These 
lead us to believe that, just like the external forms 
of organic life, the phenomena of consciousness or of 
individual experience are subject to the general law of 

^ Faculties or powers on the sub- 
jective side ; separate sensations or 
ideas with their combinations or 
associations on the objective side. 
The whole of Ward's psychology 
oaay be considered as one of the 
most brilliant examples of the 
modern tendency of thought men- 
tioned above (p. 104), to look at 
things in their " together " instead 
of in their isolation ; of the synop- 

tical as against the analytical and 
synthetical view. 

'■^ The fact that psychology has 
come under the influence of the 
genetic view of phenomena not 
only enlarges very much the region 
of psychological research ; it also 
separates it once for all from 
any theory of knowledge. " Com- 
paring psychology and epistem- 
ology, we may say that the former 

f 1 




In dealing with modern empirical psychology, I have 
confined myself mainly to the work of English thinkers, 
and notably to the expositions of James Ward. A move- 
ment in many ways similar has taken place among 
German psychologists ; though perhaps nowhere in their 
voluminous writings has the matter been so simply and 
lucidly dealt with as in the expositions given in English 
philosophical literature. In Germany the philosophy of 
Richard Avenarius ^ aims apparently at a similar reduction 

is essentially genetic in its method, 
and might, if we had the power to 
revise our existing terminologj', be 
called biology ; the latter, on the 
other hand, is essentially devoid of 
everything historical, and treats 
sub specie cetemitatU, as Spinoza 
might have said, of human know- 
ledge, conceived as the possession 
of 'mind' in general. The prin- 
ciples of psychologj^ are part of the 
material, the logical worth and 
position of which a theory of know- 
ledge has to assign ; but they are 
not, neither do they furnish, the 
critical canons by which knowledge 
to be tested. Yet, in three 


several ways, epistemology has been 
supposed to depend upon psycho- 
logy, in so far, viz., as psychology 
might explain the origin of know- 
ledge, the process of knowing, or 
the limits of the knowable. But 
it can answer none of these ques- 
tions in the way required. To ask 
them at all betrays serious mis- 
conception as to the nature of 
psychology. ... So far, knowledge 
has contained the means of its own 
advance, and mere psychology can- 
not tell us whether this is to hold 
always or must cease at some point, 
while there remain possibilities of 
knowledge still beyond. Psychologj- 
seems, in fact, far more intimately 
related to metaphysics, that is to 
say, to theories about being and 

becoming, than to theories of know- 
ledge" (J. Ward, "Psychological 
Principles,"—' Mind,' 1883, p. 167). 
1 Born 1843, Avenarius died 1896, 
as Professor of Philosophy, at 
Ziirich. His philosophy, which cer- 
tainly possesses the merit of origin- 
ality both in form and substance, 
was elaborated under the influence 
of the different lines of thought 
which prevail in modern scientific 
and philosophical literature. Thus 
we find such heterogeneous aspects 
as the physiological (through 
Ludwig), the purely physical and 
descriptive (through Kirchhoff and 
Mach), the Herbartian (through 
Drobisch), and, above all, the pan- 
theistic or parallelistic of Spinoza, 
brought together. The modern con- 
ception of science and philosophy 
as a unification of knowledge or 
thought takes with him the form of 
"economy of thought," as, in con- 
sequence of the limited nature of 
the human intellect, a condensation 
and simplification of ideas is inevi- 
tably called for. It seems, there- 
fore, as if his object was to reduce 
the complex mass of our intellectual 
conceptions to a minimum of what 

he terms * ' pure " experience ; 


latter is, therefore, not, as in Kant's 
conception of pure reason, the fun- 
damental endowment of the human 
mind ; it is rather the ultimate 
outcome of a purifying process of 



of psychology and philosophy to an analysis of experience, 
but with the fundamental difference that what is aimed at 
is not an analysis of individual experience, as with Ward, 
but an analysis of pure experience. The title of his 
great work as a ' Critique of Pure Experience ' reminds 
one of Kant's ' Critique of Pure Eeason.' As Kant set 
himself the task of finding out the innate forms of the 
reasoning intellect, so Avenarius tries to arrive at a de- 
scription of pure experience, i.e., of such experience as 
is not contaminated and mixed up with a whole host 
of conceptions, images, and ideas, which are imported 
through tradition and habit and elaborated by fanciful 
analogies. Unfortunately the style of Avenarius' writings 
is no less peculiar than that of Kant's Critique, and it 
remains to be seen whether his disciples will succeed in 
extricating an intelligible and useful set of important and 

analysis towards which we approach, 
but which is, after all, only a 
distant ideal. There seems no doubt 
that Avenarius was much influenced 
by the success attained in the abs- 
tract sciences of nature through re- 
duction of qualitative to quantitative 
differences. Prof. Hoffding in his in- 
dependent statement of Avenarius' 
.speculation (' Modeme Philoso- 
phen,' pp. 117-27) characterises it 
as the natural history of problems ; 
the attempt to show how, through 
the want of equilibrium between 
the external (physical) and the 
internal (psychical) series of events 
or processes, the desire and need for 
equalisation is produced. Through 
a repeated study of Avenarius' 
works, as also through personal 
intercourse with him, Hoflfding has 
come to the conclusion (against 
Wundt) that Avenarius cannot be 
stigmatised as a materialist, inas- 
much as he himself declared that he 

knew neither the "physical " nor the 
" psychical," but only a third some- 
thing. Nevertheless it has to be 
admitted that the attempt to pene- 
trate from outside, from the brain 
processes to the mind processes, 
gives the whole the appearance of 
a purely physiological treatment. 
'* This relation between psychology 
and physiology is characteristic, 
and contains a significant warning 
against the view that it would be 
naore scientific in questions of this 
kind to proclaim the * biological ' as 
the only correct method " (Hoffding, 
loc. cit., p. 122). A very interest- 
ing though somewjiat acrid criticism 
of modern psychology in Germany, 
from the position indicated by 
Avenarius, will be found in Rudolf 
Willy, ' Die Krisis in der Psycho- 
logie' (1899). Hardly any notice 
is taken of modern English or 
French psychological work. 



novel ideas. So far, their activity has consisted mostly in 
criticising the positions taken up by other leading psycho- 
locrists, most of whom, they maintain, have not sufficiently 
liberated themselves from the metaphysical bias, and are 
continually falling back into fanciful speculations. The 
philosopher who has done most to give the general reader 
some conception of the deeper meaning which lies hidden 
behind the forbidding terminology of Avenarius is the 
Danish professor, Harold Hoftding, who, in two recent 
works on 'Modern Philosophers' and 'Philosophical 
Problems,' refers at some length to the 'Critique of 
Pure Experience.' From these expositions we gather 
that the way adopted by Avenarius lies in the direction 
of a minute analysis of the physiological basis of the 
psychical processes. As such, it would hardly be accept- 
able to psychologists in this country, who have persist- 
ently upheld the introspective method, aided indeed by 
indications and suggestions furnished by physiology. 

But the persistent polemics which are carried on 
abroad, as to the intrusion of metaphysics into psycho- 
lof^ical research, are indicative of a tendency of thought 
which, though continually criticised, will nevertheless 
continually recur. The question as to the essence, the 
quid propriumy of the inner life, will always be asked, and 
if psychology, as the analysis of " individual " or of " pure " 
experience, cannot give it, it will have to be sought else- 
where. Further, the position of the individual mind, or 
rather of individual minds in their collective existence as 
human society, in the whole economy of nature, and the 
developments of history, is also a question of such abid- 
ing interest that it will become inevitable to try to gain 



a higher point of view from which to judge the totality 
of mental life in its individual and collective appearance. 
These two problems, the essence of the inner life, of the 
soul, and its significance in the economy and connection 
of things, may be termed transcendental so far as the 
limits are concerned within which individual experi- 
ence is confined. They characterise two independent lines 
of thought and constitute two independent fields of 
research by which psychological studies must be supple- 
mented. Both were represented in the philosophy of 
Lotze. We may call the first, rational psychology, the 
second, anthropology. 

In all the three countries we have, at the end of the 
century, to deal with prominent spec ulations as to the 
essence and main characteristic of mental life. We have 
in Germany, von H artman n's ' Psychology of the Un- 58. 

, . _, "" r~ " -r-. T 1 Hartmann, 

conscious ; m Jlingland, Herbert Spencers ' Psychology spencer, and 
of Evolution'; and in France, M. Fouillee's 'Psycho- 
logic des Idees Forces.' None of the governing ideas 
contained in these speculations have been elaborated 
by purely introspective analysis. They are based upon 
generalisations arrived at from various sources, and 
afterwards supported by a more or less exhaustive 
survey of facts brought together from many sides ; the 
natural sciences with their large accumulation of novel 
facts arrayed under the recent theories of energy and 
descent having been made to furnish valuable contribu- 
tions. The ' Philosophy of Evolution ' of Herbert Spencer 
originated in the genetic or genealogical view of nature, 
which was put forward in the beginning of the second 
half of the century from many sides, and which Spencer 


I' i 




1 t 



of Hart- 
mann and 


himself embraced in a definite form before the idea had 
received general currency through the writings of Darwin 
and the watchwords of the Darwinian school. Herbert 
Spencer's psychology consists in an application of the 
metaphysical canons of the theory of evolution to the 
phenomena of mental life, which he maintains cannot be 
understood if we confine ourselves to a study of the 
individual mind. He had come to this study from that 
of human society, its history and progress. The latter 
he had attempted to analyse and comprehend by resorting 
to biological analogies. He thus illustrates the two 
points just referred to, viz.: that the study of the 
individual mental life must be enlivened by gaining from 
elsewhere the clue to its nature and significance, as also 
by looking at its collective existence in human society. 
The psychology of Herbert Spencer is an instructive 
example how, alongside — if not in the midst — of in- 
ductive and introspective schools of thought, a meta- 
physical construction could grow and flourish with much 
greater practical results and popular influence than the 
more cautious and sober teachings of those schools could 

ever boast of. 

The historical antecedents of the two other philosophies, 
of those of von Hartmann in Germany and M. Fouillee 
in France, are to be found in the idealistic philosophy. 
In the case of M. Fouillee we have to go back to the 
source of all idealism, the ideology of Plato. His object 
is "to bring Plato's ideas from heaven on to the earth 
and to reconcile idealism and materialism." His psy- 
chology has been regarded as the best exposition of the 
psychology of voluntarism, i.e., of that tendency in modern 




thought to look upon the will, the active principle, as 
the determining factor of all mental life which — as I 
stated above — plays an important part in what was once 
erroneously considered its purely receptive side. Still 
less purely psychological or realistic is the philosophy 
of Eduard von Hartmann. He considers the purely 
scientific mode of proceeding to be insufficient, and resorts 
to the assumption of an unconscious power which makes 
itself felt throughout the whole physical and mental 
world, and by which all the chasms left in our empirical 
knowledge of nature and mind are filled up. The terms 
and conceptions by which we in ordinary language describe 
the more mysterious sides of physical and mental life, 
such as instinct, natural selection, association of ideas, 
voluntary impulse, individual genius, and creative power, 
are all traced back to the working of the Unconscious. 

The principles of von Hartmann's philosophy, which has 
had great influence abroad, especially in extra-academic 
circles, will occupy us in some of the following chapters. 
In the meantime it is interesting to note how von 
Hartmann himself has given an exhaustive review of 
modern German psychology. In this review he tries to conscious in 


show how modern German psychology, which he dates 
from Fechner and Lotze, is slowly but inevitably 
approaching recognition of the unconscious element. 
The main points of interest in modern psychology he 
considers to be the importance and scope of the doctrine 
of the unconscious, its relation to conscious mental 
processes, and the part it plays in all the principal 
psychological problems, such as, e.g., the relation of 
willing to other mental processes, the problem of the 


The Un- 





I ■' 

unity of mental life, of psycho-physical parallelism, &c. 
He considers that in the second half of the nineteenth 
century philosophical thought has progressed from the 
conception of a metaphysical unconscious to that of a 
psychological unconscious existence. The difference 
between the treatment of the history of modern 
psychology in the accounts of such writers as 
M. Kibot in France, Professor Baldwin in America, 
Eudolf Willy and von Hartmann in Germany, and James 
Ward in England, is truly significant and instructive.^ 
In spite of violent opposition and the persistent deter- 
mination on the part of professional psychologists to 
ignore von Hartmann's ideas, some of the leading 
thinkers of the day have introduced the conception of the 
unconscious into their psychological discussions. It is 
already apparent that, under different names, the con- 
ception of the unconscious is gradually becoming domiciled 
in psychological treatises,^ even if it should be no more 

without which psychology would be 
impossible ; (3) subject activity is 
neither phenomenal nor real ; the 
apparent 'originality' and 'spon- 
taneity ' of the individual mind is 
for psychology at any rate but the 
' biologist's ' ' tropisms.' " Ward 
concludes his article by saying that 
"the definition of psychology, the 
nature of subject activity, and the 
criticism of the atomistic theory, 
seem now fundamentally the most 
important " psychological problems. 
'- In English psychology the 
Herbartian term of the "threshold " 
or limit of consciousness, implied 
already in Leibniz' conception of 
the petites perceptions, or, as it 
were, the twilight of consciousness, 
has been domiciled in such expres- 
sions as the "subconscious" or "sub- 
liminal." In Germany, the majority 

^ Perhaps the most instructive 
piece of writing on the problems of 
modern psychology is to be found 
in Jas. Ward's address before the 
section of General Psychologj^ of 
the Congiess of Arts and Sciences, 
held at St Louis, September 1904, 
reprinted in the 'Philosophical 
Review' (vol. xiii. pp. 603-621). 
Referring to the ' ' actuality " theory 
of Wuudt, " already more or less 
foreshadowed by Lotze," Ward 
takes up the fundamental dualism 
of subject and object, and refers to 
"three recent writers of mark," 
representing "three conflicting posi- 
tions : (1) subject activity is a fact 
of experience, but psychology can- 
not deal with it because it is neither 
describable nor explicable ; (2) sub- 
ject activity is not a fact of experi- 
ence, but it is a transcendent reality 


than a name for the intrinsic mystery which is also the 
most characteristic feature of the inner life. The most 
important psychical phenomenon which forces us to lay 
our account with the unconscious is the phenomenon of 
me mory. In a study of this phenomenon, unique in the 
large circumference of the inner life, we may hope to 
gain clearer notions of that central and paradoxical fact 
that the main characteristic of consciousness is to include 
the unconscious. 

Having now arrived at the latest positions taken up 
with regard to the inner life of the human mind, it may 
be of value to my readers if I briefly state in what the 
great changes consist which, during the nineteenth century, 
have come over our conceptions of the inner world or of 
the soul. 

First, then, the discussion of the soul-problem as it 
was carried on in the middle of the century, notably in 
Germany, has resulted in a distinct change in the 
vocabulary which we make use of in psychology. The 62. 
word soul has almost disappeared out of psychological voSbaia^. 
treatises, and, if the soul- theory is still occasionally 


of psychologists are still opposed 
to the introduction of anything 
suggesting the unconscious element 
into psychological discussion. A 
notable instance is the endeavour 
to identify the soul with conscious- 
ness, as is very ably done (otherwise 
not without some similarity to 
James Ward's position) by J. 
Rehmke, who, in his very interest- 
/ ing tract, "Die Seele des Menschen " 
(3rd ed., 1909), takes the term soul 
«w sirieux, but subsequently 
identifies it with consciousness. 
Hehnholtz^ fifty years ago, adopted 
the notion of unconscious logical 

processes in the mind to explain 
certain phenomena of sensation and 
perception, and Wundt followed 
him, but subsequently dropped 
this conception. Prof. Stout, on 
his part, has introduced the term 
"anoetic" (see his * Analytic Psycho- 
logy,' vol. i. p. 171). A very in- 
teresting examination of the whole 
question will be found in Prof. 
Theodor Lip ps' address to the 
' Third International Congress for 
Psychology, held at Munich, 1896 : 
'Der Begriff des Unbewussten in 
der Psychologic' (Report., p^ }ia). 





referred to, it is admitted that in modern psychology, -i.e., 
in the methodical study of the phenomena of the inner 
life, we can dispense with that time - honoured word. 
Psychology, instead of being the doctrine of the soul or of 
the mind, is now variously described as a treatment of 
the individual human self, as a study of the things of the 
inner world, as that of the normal flow of consciousness, 
of the unity of thinking, feeling, and willing, or, lastly, as 
the science of individual experience. All these definitions, 
if we contrast them with those that were in use in the 
older treatises of the soul, agree in this, that the object 
of psychology is not a definite thing, but a series of 
occurrences or happenings which make up the continuous 
stream of our conscious life; more or less importance 
being at the same time attached to the intervals or the 
backc^round of unconsciousness, and the breaks in the 
continuity by which the conscious and continuous flow 
is accompanied or interrupted. 

Secondly, the older conceptions, which divided the 

subjective unity of mind into different faculties or the 

objective field into separate sensations or ideas, have been 

abandoned; it being more and more recognised that 

thinking, feeling, and willing are not in reality distinctly 

marked off, but that they proceed through continual 

63. interchange, alternation, and blending. In two distinct 

onTct/^tlr directions modern psychological treatises stand in a 

and feeling. ^^^^^^ coutrast to the earlier ones. The intellectual 

process is now generally conceived as being dependent 

quite as much on the active as on the receptive functions 

of the human mind. And, so far as feeling is concerned, 

it now receives much more attention from psychologists 



than it used to do. I shall have occasion to refer to this 
latter class of psychological writings when treating of the 
psychology of religious experience. 

Thirdly, as the treatment of separate faculties and ^4 
separate sensations has been replaced by the study of t?orco?-' 
the presentation-continuum of experience and the stream *"'""• 
of thought, so the study of the single human individual 
has expanded to a study of the collective life in human 
society. Psychology is more and more extending in the 
direction of anthropology. 

Whilst all these characteristic features of modern 
psychology emphasise the continuity of mental life, the 
great fact of individuality, personality, of the unity of 
self, stands out as the highest unexplained phenomenon. 
No scientific theory can explain away the discontinuity 


ot separate individual existences. This seems to consti- &- 
tute the very characteristic, the quid proprium, of the '''"''''^''• 
individual soul or mind, and not only are we apt to lose 
sight of this discontinuity through the modern scientific 
methods of studying the inner life ; we have also to face 
the fact that the whole interest of mental existence lies 
in qualitative differences, and in sudden and unexpected 
occurrences, the products of individual energy and the 
creations of imagination, i.e., in phenomena of discon- 
tinuity. No one has given clearer expression to this 
characteristic of mental life than Charles Eenouvier, and 
Professor Hoffding has drawn special attention to the 
psychological aspect of the problem of discontinuity. 
In respect of this he says, " The relation of continuity and 
discontinuity touches the highest interest of personality 
as well as of science. In both directions we aim at 





unity and connectedness; and in this regard the dis- 
continuous appears as an obstacle which has to be over- 
come. On the other side it is just this discontinuity 
(difiference of time, of degree, of place, of quaUty, of 
individuality) which everywhere, in the realms of science 
as well as of life, brings something new, releases the 
bound-up forces, and places before us the great tasks. 
Neither of the two elements appears prima facie to be 
the only legitimate one, and it is of undoubted mterest 
to follow up their mutual relations from different points 
of view. In the philosophy of the nineteenth century 
the importance of the continuity problem stands out 
characteristically. In the first half of the century phil- 
osophical Idealism insisted in its own way on the 
continuity of existence, and looked down upon empirical 
science on account of its fragmentary character, whilst 
positivism (as upheld by Comte and Stuart Mill) empha- 
sised the discontinuity of the different groups of pheno- 
mena. Towards the end of the century it is Eealism 
which, with the help of the evolution hypothesis, urges 
continuity, whereas the idealistic school is inclined to 
lay stress upon the inevitable discontinuity of our 
knowledge. In this way the different directions of 
thought change their position in the great contest 
through which truth is to be won."^ 

It is evident from this that the highest psychological 
problems lead us out of psychology into other and more 
general regions of thought. Not only are we told that 
psychology proper has nothing to do with the soul, i.e., 
with the essence of the inner life, but wherever this 

1 Hoffding, * Philosophische Problerae," p. 5. 



problem is touched upon by recent thinkers we see how 
they find it necessary to approach the subject from an 
outside, not purely psychological, point of view. In fact 
we are referred to a discussion of what constitutes 
Eeality. This is the main problem of metaphysics. On 
the other side such terms as unity and continuity point 
to distinctions which the thinking mind imports into 
its consideration of every matter with which it deals. 
Accordingly we find that psychological analysis leads on 
the one side to metaphysical discussions and on the other 
to a more minute examination of the methods of thought 
and the processes of acquiring knowledge. In some 
cases these two interests have entirely cast into the 
shade the purely psychological aims. It will now be 
necessary for us to take up separately these two prob- 
lems: the problem of Knowledge and the problem of 
Eeahty, into both of which the nineteenth century has 
introduced novel and interesting points of view. 








Of all the processes in the inner life of the human 
mind, those referring to knowledge have always 
attracted the greatest attention of thinkers. At a 

1. Very early age of philosophical thought, the problems of 
pearanceof the naturc and origin of knowledge, of the means of 

the problem 

o^know- acquiring it, and of the difference between correct and 
incorrect, useful and useless knowledge, have presented 
themselves as amongst the most important questions in 
philosophy. Nor does it seem as if, in spite of the very 
advanced nature of the speculations referring to this 
subject in ancient philosophy, the problem of knowledge, 
of its nature, its origin, and its usefulness, has at all 
lost its freshness, its interest, or its difficulties. Thus 
we find that also during the nineteenth century the 
problem of knowledge has again been attacked by 
foremost thinkers with much eagerness, and that various 

2. solutions have been attempted. It has even been 
^cIThlf" maintained that theory of knowledge formed the 

acteristicof . . . ^ .^ i • i. j. + 

nineteenth characteristic occupatiou and the most important out- 

centnry. ^ . 

come of philosophical thought during the nineteenth 

century. This assertion might justify itself by pointing 
to a number of new terms introduced into philosophical 
language referring to the subject in question. From 
this point of view Kant's critical labours have been 
appraised and represented as the starting-point for the 
Jater contributions of Continental thinkers ; whereas in 
this country the earlier studies deahng with this subject 
are more directly connected with the writings of Bacon, 
Locke, and Hume, to which Kant himself was likewise 
largely indebted. 

During the last years of the eighteenth century 3. 
Fichte had introduced the problem of knowledge under ^^SiSf 
the new term and conception of Wissenschaftslehre}'''"^''''''''' 
professing that such was no more than a general theory 
of methodical knowledge (termed in German Wissen- 

^ The term Wissenschafulehre 
appears for the first time in 1794, 
in Fichte's correspondence with 
Reinhold, and had probably been 
fixed upon during a course of Lec- 
tures which he delivered at Ziirich 
before a small circle of friends 
interested in his philosophy. These 
included Lavater, the physiog- 
nomist. Shortly after that time 
Fichte was installed at Weimar in 
the chair vacated by Reinhold, 
and there he published his first 
tract " On the Conception of Wissen- 
ichaftslehre or the so-called Philo- 
sophy" as a syllabus for the 
attenders of his Lectures. It was 
republished four years later with a 
new explanatory preface. In this 
tract he defines his aim as being to 
give to philosophy, as a science, 
unity and certainty, or necessary 
connection. This undertaking, the 
success of which he hypothetically 
supposes, and which he intends to ! 
establish, should warrant a new i 
fiame in order to distinguish it 

from existing sciences and from 
existing philosophy as a preliminary 
investigation. Should such a funda- 
mental science be possible, it would 
deserve, he says, to "drop the 
name which it hitherto bore in 
consequence of a by no means ex- 
aggerated modesty. . . . The nation 
which should invent such a science 
would indeed deserve to give it a 
name in its own tongue, and it 
might well be called die Wissen- 
schaft {i.e., science par excellence) 
or Wissenschaftslehre " (Fichte, 
' Werke,' vol. i. p. 44). In a note 
he also indicates that through such 
an achievement the nation and its 
language would attain to a distinct 
preponderance over other languages. 
in passing it may be noticed that 
not the term chosen by Fichte but 
the later one of Erkenntnisstheorie 
has in a manner attained to the lead- 
ing position he indicates, though 
both terms share the disadvantage 
of not being easily and intelligibly 
translatable into other languages. 










schaft or Science) in the spirit of Kant's own specu- 
lations. Sixty years later the term Erkenntnisstheorie 
(in English Epistemology) marks the beginning of a new 
series of attempts to deal with the problem of know- 
ledge, with the distinct aim of going back to Kant, of 
reverting to the problem of the critical philosophy. 
This direction of philosophical thought manifests itself 
independently in all the three countries with which we 
are mainly occupied. It was most loudly proclaimed 
in Germany by F. A. Lange and supported by Eduard 
Zeller, both having turned away from the metaphysical 
systems of Kant's immediate successors. In this country 
somewhat later the study of those very systems, which 
Germany rejected, led the opponents of Mill, Comte, 
and Spencer to go back to Kant as a necessary 
preparation for carrying out more satisfactorily and 
consistently the great scheme propounded by Hegel. 

In France Charles Eenouvier took up quite an original 
and unique position in opposition to the prevailing 
official philosophy of his country,^ and in distinct recog- 

^ The foremost works referring 
to this movement which have 
appeared in Germany and in this 
country are in general well known, 
and have had a widespread influence. 
But the equally important and 
equally original labours of Renouvier 
remained for a long time unknown 
and unrecognised beyond a narrow 
circle of followers in his own 
country. And even there hia in- 
fluence as one of the leading thinkers 
of recent times has only gradually 
made its way. The reason, inter 
alia, given for this, is that the 
works of Renouvier are deficient in 
style and elegance of expression, 
defects which French literary taste 

cannot forgive. See, e.g., what M. 
Ribot says in his otherwise appre- 
ciative mention of Renouvier in 
'Mind,' 1877, vol. ii. p. 379: "I 
regret to have to state that in 
France Renouvier's works have not 
been suflBciently read, and that 
they are far from obtaining the 
success they deserve. The fault 
lies in the author's style, and still 
more in a want of art and com- 
position, not easily forgiven by 
French readers. It should be re- 
marked, however, that of late years 
the ditFusion of his doctrines has 
begun to make way ; not so much 
perhaps on their own account, as 
because they are related to the 



nition of the beginning made by Xant. In this sense he 
termed his philosophy Neocriticism. We have thus Neo- 
Kantianism in Germany, Is'eo-Hegelianism in England, 
Neocriticism in France; all three starting with and 
putting into the foreground the theory of knowledge. 
It is interesting to note that neither of the two above- 
mentioned terms, neither Wissenschaftslehre nor Erkennt- 
nisstheorie, has a current synonym in the French 
language, but, on the other side, that language has 
contributed largely to the fixing of modern views on the 
subject by the introduction of the term "Positivism," 
which denotes and characterises a special conception of 
the nature of knowledge, of which I shall have to say 
more in the sequel. 

The contributions of this country to the terminology 
of the subject came later, but are probably more incisive 
and, for the general intelligence, more significant. 
Following upon Jlerbert Spencer's doctrine of the 
Unknowable, Huxley coined the term " Agnosticism," and e. 
towards the end of the century a very different turn a^n^p'^g!'" 
was given to popular philosophical discussions by the ""^ ''"'' 
introduction in this country of the American term 

movement which is known by the Kant sich zu orientieren 

name of Neo-Kantism in Germany, 
and of which the influence is now 
oeing felt in France." See also 
important articles "On Renouvier 
and French Criticism," by M. 
Beurier, in the 'Revue Philoso- 
phique,' vol. iii., 1877. In order to 
show the chronological sequence of 
works referring to the return to 
Kaut m the three countries I give 
the following dates : — 
1847. Ch. H. Weisse. 'In wel- 

chem Sinne die deutsche 

Philosophic jetzt wieder an 

]854. Ch. Renouvier. 'Essais 

de Critique Gen^rale.' 
1862. Ed. Zeller. *UeberBedeu- 
tung und Aufgabe der Erkennt- 
1866. F. A. Lange. 'Geschichte 

des Materialismus. ' 
1874. T. H. Green. * Intro- 
duction to Hume's Treatise on 
Human Nature.' 
1877. Ed. Caird. 'A Critical 
Account of the Philosophy of 






*' Pragmatism." Whereas all the theories of knowledge 
emanating from Locke and Kant, both in England and 
abroad, treated the problem of knowledge by correlating 
Knowing and Being, or by contrasting Truth and Error, 
the new turn given to the treatment of the subject by 
the introduction of the term " Pragmatism " fastens upon 
/ly the correlation of Knowing and Doing ; leading us back 
* to an early period of Greek philosophy. 
7. Both in Germany and England, where the problems 

in logic and of knowlcdgc havc been, in recent times, independently 
attacked, leading to original theories, these discussions 
were preceded by minute and extensive logical and 
psychological studies; as witness the very large num- 
ber of treatises pertaining to Logic and Psychology 
which had been published in both countries before the 
middle of the century. French philosophical literature, 
on the other hand, had during the period which preceded 
what we may call the " return to Kant," contributed no 
important works upon either Logic or Psychology. 

It is indeed a remarkable literary phenomenon, well 
worthy of examination, that the nation whose language 
and literature excel all others in logical clearness, 
simplicity, and elegance, and which has exhibited 
in the domains of fiction and popular philosophy a large 
amount of psychological insight and refined analysis, 
should have, for a long period, produced hardly any 
exclusively psychological or logical treatises. 

Although it is conceivable and has been the ambition 
of some thinkers that the process of knowledge should 
be approached in an unbiassed spirit, and studied in an 
unprejudiced manner as a definite object belonging to 



the natural histoiy of the human mind, we can never- 
theless easily recognise haw, in modern philosophy, the 
different theories of knowledge have sprung up under the s. 
distinct though frequently unconscious influence of those cu?ren°r'*^ 
habits and tendencies of thought which, in general and *^^ science, 
scientific literature, were at the time most acceptable and 
dominating. And in this we may possibly find an ex- 
planation of the diJBPerent ways on which leading thinkers 
have in different periods and countries approached the - 
same problem. The Wissenschaftslehre of Fichte sprang 
up under the dominant impression of a great change which 
had recently taken place in men's minds, and which had 
found a partial expression in Kant's philosophy. But it 
was not an exclusively academic interest which directed 
Fichte's earliest speculations. Before he became, as he 
tells us, accidentally acquainted with Kant's philosophy, 
he had come under the influence of Lessing's theological 
polemics in Germany and of the educational interests 
which emanated from Eousseau in Switzerland. Both 
produced in him that mental unrest, that "storm and 
stress" which was common to many other prominent 
writers and thinkers of the day. He partook, in his 
way, of that yearning for liberty in religious belief and 
social life which was as widespread as it was indefinite. 
It was the problem of liberty which he tried to solve 
for himself. Inclined for a moment, under the influence 
of Spinoza, to adopt the determinist solution, he first 
found relief and satisfaction in Kant's doctrine of the 
higher life of the human mind in which it is able to 
assert its autonomy, or self-imposed law of duty and 
<ionduct. At that moment the storm of the Eevolution 








EflFect of the 




broke out in France, and brought with it more definite 
social and political problems. Fichte's first writings of 
importance referred to the religious problem and to the 
social problem. It was only after he had gained a 
considerable reputation through these writings that he 
found it necessary to lay a deeper foundation for hia 
speculations by dealing with the fundamental problems 
approached by Kant. This was the origin of the Wissen- 
schaftslehre. But what Fichte would have called the 
purely scientific and logical treatment of the fundamental 
question of knowledge was very soon interrupted by the 
influence of the creative, in opposition to the critical, 
spirit which sprang up in German literature, poetry, and 
art, and attained its greatest sway during his Jena 

When, half a century later, the general interests of 
literature and science had undergone a great change in 
the direction of Kealism, when the creative spirit had 
exhausted itself, we find philosophical thinkers approach- 
ing once more the problem of knowledge. But this time 
it is not the belief in an ideal world which strives for 
philosophical grasp and expression, but rather the new 
and rapidly growing region of knowledge opened out by 
the natural sciences and their exact mathematical treat- 
ment. It is no more the logic of the autonomous, nor 
that of the creative human mind, but the logic of patient 
observation and mathematical reasoning that is required ; 
in fact, the ideas of knowledge have undergone a great 
change. The exact sciences begin to assume the position 
dSSnance of typcs and modcls of the most perfect human know- 
ledge, which the philosophical theory tries to understand, 






to formulate, and to explain. With the transition from 
the Idealism of the classical to the Eealism of the exact 
period of thought, knowledge has, even in the eyes 
of the professedly unprejudiced thinker, acquired a 
different aspect, demanding a new Logic and a new 

If we now turn from German to British philosophy of 
the last hundred years, we find that a distinctly new effort 
to solve the problems of knowledge was put forward by 
John Stuart Mill, the first of a long line of psychologists 
and logicians, whose labours have largely influenced 
philosophical thought not only in this country but also 
abroad. But here again the tendencies of thought as 
exhibited in general literature exert a very distinct 
influence, not to say pressure, on the minds of even the 
most secluded thinkers. Two characteristics have here to 
be noted. The rapid growth of natural knowledge, based 
almost exclusively on observation and experiment, had 
already, in the eighteenth century, created a desire for 
an analogous study of the human mind and human 
nature, placing as it were the natural history of the 
human soul in a position parallel to that of the know- 
ledge of external nature. Eightly or wrongly, it was 
generally thought that the Inductive methods of re- 
search, practised by the great naturalists and appraised 
by Bacon, furnished the principal instruments by which 
to attain correct and useful knowledge, and these induc- 
tive methods formed therefore a prominent aspect in the 
study of the problems of knowledge. But even more 
determining for these philosophical speculations was 
a second influence. This was the widespread atten- 


J. S. Mill. 





of social 



Influence of 
matics in 


tion which economic and social questions had attracted 
through the growing wealth, industry, and population 
of the country. It was with the distinct intention of 
contributing something towards the development of a 
political science that John Stuart Mill and many of 
his contemporaries and followers attacked the problem 
of human knowledge. 

The influences which general literature and scientific 
thought exerted upon philosophy in France were quite 
different from those which existed in Germany or in 
England. Indeed, the most prominent characteristic 
which existed in the scientific thought of that country 
was almost entirely wanting both in Germany and Eng- 
land in the beginning of the century; although these 
countries had furnished in former centuries two brilliant 
examples in Newton and Leibniz. I refer to the mathe- 
matical spirit, the analytical as distinguished from the 
experimental method, which pervades the speculations of 
the greatest French philosophers such as Descartes, 
Pascal, and Malebranche, nay, even of Buffon and Vol- 
taire. The analytical method had at the beginning of 
the century risen supreme, revealing its great power in 
the highly abstract, but also in the more popular works 
of Laplace and some of his contemporaries. Against 
this we find it, after the age of Newton and Leibniz, 
almost absent both in English and German philosophical 
thought.^ In Germany the great genius who probably 

! ' 

1 This generalisation might be 
objected to, considering that Ger- 
many had Euler and Gauss. But, 
to disregard the fact that Euler 

was not a German but a Swiss, it 
must be noted that he only in- 
directly influenced German thought 
as represented by the High Schools 



represents nineteenth century thought more fully than 
any other, who influenced men's minds more lastingly, 
and gave them certainly a higher flight, that of Goethe] 
sympathised with almost every fruitful line of thought 
and aspiration except the mathematical. And in Eng- 
land also the wisdom of Bacon was blind to the power 
of the mathematical methods. Thus it comes that what 
was wanting in the theories of knowledge in the school 
of Mill and had to be supplemented by his later fol- 
lowers was an appreciation of just that factor which 
dominated French thought, being reflected in the best 
style of some of the classical French writers. But the 
clearness, simplicity, and elegance which this dominant 
trait imparted to French thought misled it also into 
the belief that psychological theories, in which English 
and German philosophy abounded, were superfluous for 
the attainment of exact knowledge, even in the region of 
morals, economics, and politics. It led to that neglect 
or contempt of logic and psychology which is charac- 
teristic of the positivism of Auguste Comte, whose ideal 

and Universities ; he was an acade 
mician, not a professor, and passed 
a great part of his life outside of 
Germany. And as concerns Gauss, 
he stood outside and above the 
general current of German thought. 
His earliest and mostoriginal mathe- 
matical work was written in Latin, 
and was practically unknown in 
Germany. He was a younger con- 
temporary of Goethe, and, along- 
side of him, probably the greatest 
German intellect of the age. Per- 
sonally they seem to have been 
unknown to each other, nor is there 
any reference, so far as I know, in 
the writings of either of them to 

the other. The mathematical pre- 
cision which Wolff gave to his 
philosophical writings was purely 
formal, as was also that of Spinoza, 
after the manner of Euclid. The 
modern analytical methods of 
Leibniz, developed and perfected 
by mathematicians such as the 
Bernoullis and Euler, and most 
successfully applied by French 
physicists, remained, as it seems 
unknown to the majority of Ger- 
man mathematicians, and possibly 
also to Kant. Even the study of 
the ' Principia ' would hardly reveal 
to him the power of the analytical 








1 ^ 

Reaction in 


British 1 




of knowledge, like that of Laplace, was to be found in 
mathematical astronomy. 

As a great change came over the ideals of human 
knowledge about the middle of the nineteenth century 
in Germany, so likewise a reaction set in in this country 
though somewhat later. It is frequently suggested that 
this was brought about largely through the tardy influ- 
ence of German literature and philosophy.^ But though 
this has no doubt been considerable, especially since 

1 I have in the first volume of 
this history (p. 237) given extracts 
from a pamphlet entitled * On 
the Alleged Decline of Science in 
England' (1831) which bear upon 
this subject. It was published 
anonymously, but is known to 
have been written by Dr Moll of 
Utrecht. Inter alia he refers to 
the exclusive culture of the higher 
analysis promoted by the great 
teachers at the Ecole Normale and 
to the discouragement of classical 
studies. See also page 149 as to 
the fate and the temporary suspen- 
sion of the * Acad^mie des Sciences 
morales et politiques.' The idea 
that the philosophical sciences 
should be entirely founded upon 
the physical and natural sciences 
was not original, though it was 
fundamental in Comte's early posi- 
tivism. ''We find it everywhere 
at that time, with Vicq-d'Azyr, 
who treats psychology as a branch 
of physiology ; with Destutt de 
Tracy, who considers Ideology as 
a simple chapter of Zoology ; with 
Volney, who gives to his ' Catechism 
of N^atural Law ' the sub-title ' Prin- 
ciples of Morals ' ; it is the last word 
of the sensationalism of the age, 
as it is of that of to-day. To these 
contested views Saint-Simon joins 
others which are extremely para- 
doxical and which border on the ri- 
diculous. . . . God appears to him 

(he does not say whether in a dream 
or otherwise) in order to declare to 
him that Rome, the Pope, and the 
Cardinals have ceased to receive 
His inspirations, and that He 
will in future communicate them 
bo a sacred college composed of 
twenty -one sages elected by en- 
tire humanity, and presided over 
by a mathematician. . . . The 
great Council will have, above all, 
the mission to study gravitation, 
the only law — if we may believe 
our author, who in this agrees with 
Charles Fourier — to which the 
universe is subjected, &c., &c." 
(Ferraz, ' Histoire de la Philo- 
sophie en France.' — 'Socialisme, 
&c.,'3rded., 1882, p. 8 sqq.) 

2 " The German mind, awakened 
into a priori speculation by Leibniz, 
continued in it on the new lines of 
Kant, and from Kant to Hegel 
tended steadily towards the specu- 
lative construction and systematic 
unity of absolute all - explaining 
Idealism. This philosophy, intro- 
duced into „ Britain at first by 
doIen3ge and by the criticisms of 
H amiltQi L has . . . gradually trans- 
formed our insular manner of think- 
ing, and inverted, for the time, 
Locke's 'plain, historical' matter- 
of-fact procedure" (Fraser in 
'Locke,' "Blackwood's Philosophical 
Classics," p. 286). 


several of the outstanding works of that philosophy have 
been brought out in English translations, this alone 
would not account for the entirely altered attitude now 
taken up by prominent thinkers, in general philosophy 
as well as to the special problem of knowledge. The 
deeper cause of this change must indeed be sought in a 
different direction, and again in that pressure which the 
diffused thought of general literature, the clearer prin- 
ciples of science and the demands of practical life, 
exerted upon the most secluded and abstract philo- 
sophical speculation. In this instance what influenced 
philosophy was a circumstance to which I have had 
occasion to advert already in the foregoing chapters, 
namely, the growing necessity that was felt for the 
formation of a philosophical or reasoned creed. 

Up to the middle of the nineteenth century free in- 
quiry into the nature and essence of fundamental beliefs 
had not been a desideratum with the large number of 
educated and thinking persons in this country. The ' 
Reformation 1 was not accompanied in England or in 

^ The Reformation in this country 
is in fact not one startling event 
Buch as was connected with Luther's 
appearance in Germany. It was a 
process which had several stages, 
occupying, in all, three centuries 
before it manifested, and then only 
partially and imperfectly, its in- 
herent tendencies. As I am not 
writing for British readers only, 
who may, or may not, be well 
acquainted with the historical de- 
velopment of religious thought in 
their own country, I refer to two 
works in which that History is 
yery lucidly explained. The first 
18 written by one inside what is 
termed 'The Church,' i.e., from 

VOL. m. 

the Anglican point of view, which 
looks upon movements outside 
as representing Dissent, be they 
in the direction of the older 
Romanism or in that of independ- 
ence in religious organisation or 
doctrine. It is the 'Bampton 
Lectures,' by G. H. Curtis, en- 
titled, 'Dissent in its Relation to 
the Church of England' (1872). 
On p. 287 he says: "The contro- 
versies which mainly characterised 
the sixteenth and seventeenth cen- 
turies were of a dissimilar type, 
the cause of divergence in the 
sixteenth century being the merely 
exterior question of Church-polity 
— on which the Independents se- 



I i 



t f * 

I. s; 

I I 



Scotland by a desire for an independent justification of 
personal beliefs and for a philosophical interpretation of 
religious doctrines such as existed, from the very begin- 
ning, in German Protestantism. The highest problems 

ceded, and drifted away in the 
direction of excessive liberty and 
of ultimate anarchy. ... In the 
seventeenth century . . . the matters 
in dispute were of a more interior 
nature. The use or disuse of the 
Church's Sacramenta or external 
means of grace was the question 
mainly at issue. And here the 
Baptists represented one tendency 
of thought and the Quakers the 
diametrically opposite one. . . . 
The controversies of the eighteenth 
century, and the two principal 
secessions in which those contro- 
versies terminated, [are] Unitar- 
ianism on the one hand and 
Wesleyanism on the other. The 
questions on which those two con- 
troversies hinged are of extreme 
interest and of paramount import- 
ance. . . . They belong to a still 
more interior department of the 
Church's life ; . . . they are, in a 
word, questions relating to the 
Church's system of doctrine, to her 
educational method of procedure. 
. . . And here Unitarianism . . . 
went oft' in the pursuit of an un- 
limited intellectual freedom ; while 
Wesleyanism . . . handled, with 
an almost sublime self-confidence, 
the tremendous spell of an appeal 
to the mere feelings of half taught 
and half civilised men." The other 
work I wish to recommend is by 
John James Tavlor, a Unitarian 
minister, with the title * Retrospect 
of the Religious Life of England * 
(1845). As the title indicates, the 
subject is here treated under the 
three headings of The Church, 
Puritanism, and Free Enquiry. In 
Chapter III. (p. 131 sqq.), the 
author proceeds "to contrast with 
[the Anglican hierarchy] the nature ' 

and operation of the antagonist 
principle of Puritanism. It is 
from the conflict of these opposing 
tendencies that the peculiar char- 
acter of our religious life results. 
The spirit of Puritanism must not, 
however, be confounded with the 
principle of Free Enquiry and 
mental independence, which ulti- 
mately grew out of it, and by 
those who were capable of reason- 
ing to consequences, might have 
been seen to be implied in it. The 
fundamental idea of Puritanism, in 
all its forms and ramifications, is 
the supreme authority of Scripture, 
acting directly on the individual 
conscience — as opposed to a reli- 
ance on the priesthood and the 
outward ordinances of the Church. 
. . . With Puritanism, the range 
of enquiry is shut up within the 
limits of the written Word ; it does 
not venture to sally forth beyond 
them, and survey tlie Scripture 
under a broader aspect from some 
point of view external to it." 
" The strict letter of Scripture was 
received by [the Puritans] as a 
final absolute rule, ever present, 
ever applicable, standing in close 
immediate contact with the exi- 
gences of man's outward life 
through the revolutions of cen- 
turies. On the other hand, the 
Anglicans regarded Scripture as 
indeed the original depository of 
Christian truth, in which its germs, 
as it were, and first principles were 
shut up, but acknowledged ecclesi- 
astical tradition as its legitimate 
exposition ; Scripture and Tradi- 
tion being viewed by them as 
equally under the superintending 
direction of Providence. . . ." (p* 



of life, death, and immortality, of evil, sin, and re- 
demption, which are now freely and largely discussed 
by philosophical writers in all the three countries, did 
not in English and Scottish philosophical literature 'find 
any exhaustive treatment. They were relegated, after 
the example of Bacon, to the separate domain of Theology 
or Divinity,! where they received adequate treatment on 
the basis of historical tradition. This was either con- 
fined—as with the Nonconformists and Presbyterians— 
to the Scriptures, which were interpreted, but not criti- 
cised, in the light of Eeason, or it was the combined 
authority of tradition and the Church which prescribed 
the correct canons for explanation and interpretation of 
the Scriptures. To the English mind the doctrines of the 
Christian religion, taught in a more or less orthodox 
spirit, and the unique historical records connected with 
its mysterious origin, presented themselves quite as much 

^ See a remarkable passage by 
George Ripley in his Introductory 
Notice to Jouffroy's Philosophical 
Essays, pp. 23, 24, quoted by 
^9J>ert F lint in his 'Philosophy of 
y ?l!^"la«i-!rance and^ermanv"^ 
A (IKTTp. 4):'~^There is a little 
book," says George Ripley, "which 
18 taught to children, and on which 
they are examined in the Church. 
If we read this book, which is the 
Catechism, we shall find a solution 
of all the problems which have been 
proposed ; all of them without ex- 
ception. If we ask the Christian 
whence comes the human race, he 
knows; or whither it goes, he 
wiows ; or how it goes, he knows. 
If we ask that poor child, who has 
never reflected on the subject in 
his life, why he is here below and 
What will become of him after 
death, he will give you a sublime 
answer, which he will not thoroughly 

comprehend, but which is none the 
less admirable for that. If we ask 
him how the world was created, 
and for what end; why God has 
placed in it plants and animals; 
how the earth was peopled ; whether 
by a single family or by many; 
why men speak different languages ; 
why they suffer, why they struggle, 
and how all this will end,— he 
knows it all. Origin of the world, 
origin of the species, question of 
races, destiny of man in this life 
and in the other, relations of man 
to God, duties of man to his fellow- 
naen, rights of man over the crea- 
tion,— he is ignorant of none of 
these points; and when he shall 
have grown up, he will as little 
hesitate with regard to natural 
right, political right, or the right 
of nations : all this proceeds with 
clearness, and as it were of itself, 
from Christianity." 

■ > 



: f 

I ? 










in the character of reality as the data of experience and 
observation in the outer world. Both these realities 
were considered by common-sense philosophy to furnish 
material for reflection and interpretation. In the 
opinion of most thinkers from the time of Bacon 
down to the beginning of the nineteenth century, 
these two separate sources of knowledge and reflection 
stood sufficiently apart to admit of being independently 
recognised and studied. This view was probably most 
clearly represented in the writings of Locke, who, more 
than any other among those thinkers who acquired a 
widespread reputation and influence, may be looked 
upon as typical of the ruling philosophical thought in 
this country from the time of Bacon till well on into 
the nineteenth century. His attitude to knowledge 
gained by observation through the senses as well as to 
that based upon religious beliefs has been characterised 
as a kind of via media. But it did not emanate from 
the desire, and still less from an attempt, to reconcile 
the two realms of thought, as was the case with his 
famous contemporary on the Continent, Leibniz ; it rather 
sprang from a dislike of dogmatism, be that dogmatism 
theological or scientific : for, according to Locke, neither 
the theologian nor the naturalist could attain to such 
certainty as would allow either side to disregard the 
evidence furnished by the other. "Thus for 130 years 
after its publication the ' Essay ' of Locke gave to philo- 
sophy in this country its groundwork and its method. 
The Anglo-Saxon mind cautiously leans to that side of 
human life which is instinctive and determined by its 
custom, overlooked, as outside philosophy, altogether by 



those who would confine its speculations to the ultimate 
presuppositions and who despise axiomata media as ex^ 
ternal to the sphere in which it moves." ^ It is quite 
true that there were exceptions, and that attempts had 
been made to build up coherent or monistic systems 
similar to those which abound in the nineteenth cen- 
tury; and this both with a materialistic tendency— as 
by Hobbes— -and with that towards spirituaHsm— as by 
Berkeley. But these systematic attempts were disre- 
garded and stood outside of the prevailing currents of 
philosophical thought. This was, in general, occupied 15 
with a discussion of special problems, and did probably ^haSof 
more than either French or German philosophy to lead BmSh 
up to special philosophical sciences, such as Psychology, '"'''"''' 
Logic, Theory of Method, Ethics, Economics, &c. Even 
the most influential and far-reaching discussions which 
mark an era in philosophical thought, those of David 
Hume, appeared in the form of essays which stimulated 
thought without exhausting their subject, and aimed as 
httle at building up a systematic whole as they emanated 
from a universitas scientiarum et literarum. The opinion 
sometimes expressed by foreign historians of philosophy, 
that thinkers like Bacon, Locke, Newton, Mill, and 
others shrank, through timidity, from expressing \heir 
convictions regarding matters of faith, or subjecting 
them^ to the same penetrating analysis which they 
practised with regard to science and natural knowledge 
can hardly be upheld.^ It was rather a correct and 


^ Fraser, ' Locke,' p. 286. 
This opinion is, however, to 
some extent borne out by what 
John Stuart Mill tells us about his 

father, James Mill, in a well-known 
passage of the 'Autobiography,' 
p. 43. " I am one of the very few 
examples, in this country, of one 





deep-seated, though frequently an unconscious, con- 
viction that the foundations of natural knowledge were 
not sufficiently firm, nor its principles sufficiently clear 
to permit of indiscriminate application beyond a limited 
region. We are acquainted with Newton's final verdict 
regarding the Law of Gravitation, or of action at a dis- 
tance, unduly extolled later on in the school of Laplace,^ 

who has not thrown off religious 
belief, but never had it : I grew up 
in a negative state with regard to 
it. I looked upon the modern 
exactly as I did upon the ancient 
religion, as something which in no 
way concerned me. It did not 
seem to me more strange that 
English people should believe what 
I did not, than that the men I 
read of in Herodotus should have 
done so. History had made the 
variety of opinions among man- 
kind a fact familiar to me, and this 
was but a prolongation of that fact. 
This point in my early education 
had, however, incidentally one bad 
consequence deserving notice. In 
giving me an opinion contrary to 
that of the world, my father 
thought it necessary to give it as 
one which could not prudently be 
avowed to the world. This lesson 
of keeping my thoughts to myself, 
at that early age, was attended 
with some moral disadvantages, 
though my limited intercourse with 
strangers, especially such as were 
likely to speak to me on religion, 
prevented me from being placed in 
the alternative of avowal or hypo- 
crisy. I remember two occasions 
in my boyhood on which I felt my- 
self in this alternative, and in both 
cases I avowed my disbelief and 
defended it." At a much later 
period he wrote ('Autobiography,' 
p. 189), "With those who, like all 
the best and wisest of mankind, 
-are dissatisfied with human life as 

it is, and whose feelings are wholly 
identified with its radical amend- 
ment, there are two main regions 
of thought. One is the region of 
ultimate aims, the constituent ele- 
ments of the highest realisable ideal 
of human life. The other is that 
of the immediately useful and 
practically attainable, . . . and, to 
say truth, it is in these two ex- 
tremes principally that the real 
certainty lies. My own strength 
lay wholly in the uncertain and 
slippery intermediate region, that 
of theory of moral and political 
science ; respecting the conclusi(jns 
of which in any of the forms in 
which I have received or originated 
them, whether as political economy, 
analytic psychology, logic, philo- 
sophy of history, or anything else, 
... I have derived a wise scepti- 
cism, which, while it has not 
hmdered me from following out 
the honest exercise of my thinking 
faculties to whatever conclusions 
might result from it, has put me 
upon my guard against holding or 
announcing these conclusions with 
a degree of confidence which the 
nature of such speculations does 
not warrant, and has kept my 
mind not only open to admit, but 
prompt to welcome and eager to 
seek, even on the questions on 
which I have most meditated, any 
prospect of clearer perceptions and 
better evidence.^ 

1 See vol. yC. of this History, 
p. 29. 

4^ rJ L^^ 

c^^ U't VU.I*. ^^Sk/ "^ ^e-^i,^^ 

er ^^t-^/4 

fx^ , 


and we have in Locke's Essay the repeated assertion 
that natural knowledge gives only probability and not 

We are thus indebted to Locke and his successors not 
for any attempt towards a complete and systematic 
theory of knowledge, but rather for leading philosophi- 
cal thought into separate and definite channels of re- 
search ; dealing as it were with the different regions of 
knowledge which were being cultivated or opened out 
in modern times, thus laying the foundation for separate 
philosophical inquiries. In each of these separate regions 
of knowledge, such as Psychology, which deals with the 
phenomena of the inner life ; Logic, which deals with 
the principles of scientific knowledge; Ethics, which 
deals with the principles of action ; Economics, which 
deals with the principles of industry and commerce; 
i^sthetics, which deals with the principles of taste, — 
English Philosophy can boast of having produced 
treatises of standard merit, distinguished by careful 
and penetrating analysis. But what was wanting from le. 
the point of view occupied by Continental thinkers from systematic 

-^-^ unity. 

Descartes to Hegel was systematic unity based upon 
completeness and intrepid trust in the conclusiveness 
of purely logical argument. If we except Bishop 
Berkeley's Idealism, no attempt had been made in this 
country before the middle of the nineteenth century to 
construct a comprehensive and consistent philosophical 
creed, which should afford definite answers to all the 
more important problems of theory and practice. It 
can be easily shown that the prominent feature of 
British philosophical thought up to quite recent times 

r- crUrc.^^ 

\ f 

■■> ; 






was a kind of dualism. No principle or position, how- 
ever clearly enunciated in the beginning, was ever by 
its first propounder carried to finality: there seems 
always to have been a reluctance to attach much 
credence to extreme consequences drawn out by slender 
logic Thus we have in Locke's Philosophy the two 
principles of Sensation and Eeflection, and further on 
the two forms of natural and revealed knowledge. The 
latter dualism is characteristic of all the philosophy of 
the Scottish school, and it was revived in a different 
form by Dean Mansel as an outcome of the latest 
phase of Scottish philosophy, that represented by Sir 
William Hamilton. But the extreme conclusions of 
every logical argument will in the end be drawn, if not 
by those who propounded it still without fail by some 
of their followers, and thus we find that, in spite of the 
realism of the English mind which clings to facts and 
practical requirements, the time did arrive when attempts 
had to be made to overcome the dualisms and latent 
contradictions contained in the writings of philosophers, 
from Ba^on and Locke down to Hamilton and Mansel, 
and to lay the foundations of a reasoned and consistent 
philosophical creed. In the present connection it is 
well to note that endeavours in this line of thoiight 
existed long before and outside of the influence which 
the study and criticism of German Idealism exerted, in 
n. the same direction, in more recent times. The history 
K?iSV of British philosophical thought can point to a distinc 
* '"^ and tolerably coherent search in quest of a philosophical 
creed, beginning with James Mill and ending wi h 
Herbert Spencer. It forms only an episode, though 

important episode, in nineteenth century thought. It 
began and ended with Agnosticism, though this term, 
with the special meaning attached to it, was only 
adopted at the end. James Mill ^ was, according to 
the testimony of his son, neither a believer nor an un- 
believer in any ultimate theory of the origin and destiny 
of the world. In spite of his acquaintance with the pro- 
nounced opposition to religious beliefs contained in the 
writings of some of the French encyclopaedists he was 
never an avowed atheist. The writings of his son, John 
Stuart Mill,^ notably his * Autobiography,' and the post- 

^ "My father, educated in the 
creed of Scotch presbyterianism, 
had by his own studies and reflec- 
tions been early led to reject not 
only the belief in Revelation, but 
the foundations of what is com- 
monly called Natural Religion. . . . 
Finding no halting-place in Deism, 
he remained in a state of perplex- 
ity until, doubtless after many 
struggles, he yielded to the convic- 
tion that, concerning the origin of 
things, nothing whatever can be 
known. This is the only correct 
statement of his opinion ; for dog- 
matic atheism he looked upon as 
absurd ; as most of those, whom 
the world has considered atheists, 
have always done" ('Autobio- 
graphy,' p. 38). James Mill's Ag- 
nosticism was, however, as we are 
told further on, founded, not upon 
intellectual difficulties, nor upon 
a mechanical or naturalistic direc- 
tion of thought, but upon the 
diflBculties which surround the 
problem of physical and moral 
evil in the world. It is, at 
the same time, remarkable that, 
living so near the age during 
which the philosophy of Kant had 
made a lasting impression upon 
Continental thought, his philosophi- 
cal interests should not have led 

him to take some notice of the 
critical and idealistic philosophy of 
Germany. In his 'Life of James 
Mill,' A. Bain has published a 
reference to Mill's * Commonplace 
Book' " as a clue to his studies.'* 
From this it is interesting to see 
that among the many authors, 
ancient and modern, English and 
foreign, there is not one repre- 
sentative of German philosophy, 
nor even of the great and broad 
current of speculation which began 
with Descartes and was continued 
by Spinoza and Leibniz, leading on 
to contemporary German transcen- 

^ Although earlier and contem- 
porary French thought played a con- 
siderable part in the development 
of J. S. Mill's convictions, we find 
no reference to the 'Discourse on 
Method * of Descartes, nor did the 
shallow philosophy of Condillac 
satisfy him. Starting, as he said, 
without any creed, he felt the 
necessity of finding and possessing 
one. Satisfied at an early age with 
the " principle of utility " as under- 
stood by Bentham, he found in it 
" the keystone which held together 
the detached and fragmentary com- 
ponent parts of [his] knowledge 
and beliefs. ... It gave him a 






humously published 'Essays on Eeligion/ revealed a 
continued search after a reasoned creed which, however, 
led to nothing really convincing. Much more decided 
was the position taken up by George Henry Lewes,^ 
through whom, as also through Hamilton, Herbert 

creed, a philosophy, a religion" 
('Autobiography,' p. 67). At the 
age of twenty he came to the 
conclusion that the direction of 
his thought had become too ana- 
lytical ; he had lost, as it were, the 
substance of things over an attempt 
to dissect them ; though he never 
" ceased to consider the power and 
practice of analysis as an essential 
condition of improvement," he 
" thought that it had consequences 
which required to be corrected " 
(p. 143). Under this "sense of 
want ' ' the cultivation of the feel- 
ings became ... "a cardinal point 
in his ethical and philosophical 
creed" (ibid.). This led him 
to an appreciation of poetry and 
art, and through the love of music, 
such as that of Weber and Mozart, 
and a disappointment with Byron's 
pessimism, he accidentally came 
iipon the 'Miscellaneous Poems' 
of Wordsworth, which "proved to 
be the precise thing for [his] 
mental wants at that particular 
juncture" (p. 147). From Words- 
worth he "seemed to learn what 
would be the perennial sources of 
happiness, when all the greater 
evils of life shall have been re- 
moved" (as the utilitarian philos- 
ophy was hopeful of removing them) 
". . . and the delight which 
these poems gave [him] proved 
that with culture of this sort, 
there was nothing to dread from 
the most confirmed habit of an- 
alvsis" (p. 148). 

1 In 1874 and 1875 G. H. Lewes 
(1817 - 1878) published the first 
series of his * Problems of Life and 
Mind,' with the sub-title, 'The 

Foundations of a Creed.' With 
much less caution but with a 
vastly superior knowledge of the 
natural, especially the biological 
sciences, than Mill possessed, Lewes 
came to the conclusion that a re- 
conciliation of knowledge and belief 
in a " creed " founded upon scien- 
tific methods of thought could be 
elaborated. He, as well as Spencer, 
and probably largely through the 
influence of the latter, entertained 
an exaggerated belief in the power 
of the genetic view to solve the 
fundamental problems of life and 
mind. This view had been estab- 
lished in Spencer's mind before 
Darwin gave to it convincing 
strength through his ' Principle of 
Natural Selection.' But beyond 
collecting much material, interest- 
ing especially to the psychologist, 
Lewes did not advance far in his 
original design, nor did he really 
tackle the main difficulty as Re- 
nouvier had done before him in 
France. He did indeed realise 
the necessity of dealing with the 
problem of certitude, but did not 
advance to a "science of mor- 
ality " like that which Renouvier 
had put forth already in 1869. It 
is interesting to note that one of 
the weakest points of Spencer's 
system lies likewise in his Ethics, 
as fully explained by Henry Sidg- 
wick, but that Spencer, unlike 
Lewes, propounded the doctrine 
of the Unknowable, thus closing 
this search for a reasoned creed by 
that Agnosticism with which, two 
generations earlier, James Mill 
had, according to the testimony of 
his son, already started. 

Spencer must have acquired at least a superficial know- 
ledge of some of the ideas current in Kantian and post- 
Kantian speculation. But the search for a creed ended 
with the latter in exactly that doctrine of the unknow- 
ableness of the origin of things at which James Mill had 
arrived sixty years earlier, and which received popular 
expression when Huxley coined the term Agnosticism. 
The circuit of thought which thus began and ended in 
an agnostic attitude preceded historically the deeper and Jpisode 
more scholarly study of Continental Idealism, and has, a|o? 
through it, been pushed somewhat into the background. 

Besides this very prominent episode we have, in this 
country, the original studies and speculations of James 
Martineau, an independent thinker, of whom we shall 
have to take notice in some of the subsequent chapters 
of this History. 

The introduction of the term Monism^ into recent 


The first 

^ The term Monism has cropped 
up in recent philosophic literature 
from different sides and with some- 
what difiTerent significance. It is 
opposed by some writers to the 
various forms of dualism existent 
in contemporary thought and, 
more recently by others, to plural- 
ism, which they consider to be the 
necessary presupposition for a con- 
sistent application of the principle 
of Evolution. In Germany the 
term has been usurped by Ernst 
Haeckel for the materialistic creed 
which is developed in his popular 
writings. Some of his followers 
have joined hands with an earlier 
tendency of thought, represented 
by the Society for Ethical Culture, 
which aims at giving to morality 
a foundation independent of any 
religious creed. This direction of 
thought is represented by a special 

periodical founded in America, with 
the title, ' The Monist.' It aims at 
representing a unitary philosophi- 
cal creed by no means identical 
with the Positivism of Comte or 
the Materialism of Haeckel, but 
nevertheless influenced by both. 
Quite recently there has been 
held at Hamburg the " First Inter- 
national Monist Congress," of 
which Ernst Haeckel, the great 
naturalist, Wilhelm Ostwald, the 
celebrated chemist, Friedrich Jodl, 
author of an important 'History 
of Ethics,' and others, mostly 
naturalists, seem to have been the 
leading spirits. The term Monism 
has thus become, as it were, the 
Shibboleth of a sort of religion of 
Free Thought, and cannot now, 
any more than the term Positiv- 
ism, be used in the wider sense 
which its etymology suggests. 





efforts to 




philosophical literature indicates a widespread tendency 
to overcome the latent duahsm characteristic of the 
earlier philosophies in this country. 

This dualism in human knowledge is, however, not 
a special characteristic of modern thought, but can be 
traced in the earliest systems of ancient philosophy, and 
was nowhere more apparent than in the middle ages 
with their avowed antithesis of Divine — or Revealed— 
and of Human Knowledge. 

Unlike English philosophical thought, thought on 
the Continent set out in modern times with the bold 
attempt to overcome the existing dualism in know- 
ledge by starting from some supreme principle or idea 
in the light of which the whole of human science- 
be it spiritual or natural — could be organised, being 
systematically co-ordinated or subordinated. The two 
great systems in which this was carried out, and which 
have had lasting influence on Continental thought up 
to the present day, are those of Descartes and Spinoza. 

Up to quite recent times, when the independence of 
the development of philosophical thought in this country 
has been clearly recognised by Continental writers, the 
leading historians of philosophy, who belong nearly 
exclusively to Germany, were in the habit of represent- 
ing the history of modern philosophy as an unbroken 
chain from Descartes to Hegel and Schopenhauer;^ 

^ This view is mainly represented 
by Kuno Fischer in his monu- 
mental work on the 'History of 
Modem Philosophy.' He does not 
include in it the History of the 
realistic movement in philosophy, 
to which he, however, devoted a 
smaller work with the title, * Franz 

Bacon von Verulam, Das Zeitalter 
der Realphilosophie ' (1856, 2nd ed., 
1875). The continuity of the 
Idealistic movement is also sketched 
by Schopenhauer in the first Essay 
contained in his 'Parerga and 
Paralipomena,' and by Schwegler 
in his well-known 'Short History 

Locke and Hume being the only British thinkers to 
whom was accorded an influence, the main importance 
of which lay in the fact that Locke provoked the 
elaborate refutation of Leibniz in the 'Nouveaux 
Essais,' and that Hume " roused Kant out of his 
dogmatic slumbers." Against this view it must be 20. 

Two lines of 

recognised that the philosophical thought of this ^7A^°p- 
country presents from Bacon to Spencer an independent 
hue of development which was no doubt influenced 
by Descartes and Kant very much as the unbroken 
tradition of Continental thought was influenced by 
Locke and Hume. Towards the end of the nineteenth 
century it seems as if these two independent lines of 
philosophical tradition have crossed each other in a 
characteristic manner. When the need of a philosophic 
creed made itself felt in this country, several thinkers of 
the first order recognised that this problem was exactly 
that which had occupied Continental thought from the 
time of Descartes. Accordingly the philosophical writ- 
ings not only of Kant but of Hegel, of Spinoza, of Lotze, ^^^^^ 
and latterly of Leibniz, have been studied in this country 
with growing interest, and a school of thinkers has arisen 
which tries to assimilate, to co-ordinate, and to systematise 
the ideas contained in those formerly neglected or for- 
gotten writings. On the other side, when, after the 



Union of 

of Philosophy.' The important 
works on ' History of Philosophy ' 
by Erdmann (see supra, p. 37 note 
1) have, in later editions, taken 
more and more notice of other 
collateral schools of thought pre- 
viously ignored. But the one- 
Bidedness of giving undue and 
exaggerated prominence to Ideal- 
istic, or even only to German, 

philosophical thought (as, e.g., is 
the case with v. Hartmann) has 
now been finally overcome and a 
new spirit infused into the treat- 
ment of the subject by Windelband 
and by Hoflfding. A still more 
one-sided but opposite view of the 
History of philosophy is repre- 
sented by G. H. Lewes's later work 
on the 'History of Philosophy.' 







traditional Continental philosophy had led to scepticism 
and pessimism, and was generally — though erroneously 
— believed to be fruitless, the critical spirit attacked the 
principles of exact science and of moral conduct, it must 
have been with some surprise that it was found that 
this critical analysis had been begun and successfully 
practised long ago by prominent thinkers in this country. 
A growing appreciation in Germany of the writings of 
Mill and Spencer and other English thinkers has been 
the consequence. 

Looking at philosophical thought in the nineteenth 
century as a whole, we may thus say that it is based 
upon two independent traditions : that which prevailed 
in this country and that which prevailed on the Con- 
tinent. They were to some extent complementary, and 
may, besides, in other ways, be characterised by the 
different position which they took up to the problem 
of knowledge. 

The problem of knowledge presents among others two 
principal sides to the philosophic thinker. He may 
inquire as to the means and methods of extending 
knowledge, or he may inquire into the difference of 
correct and incorrect, of true and false, of certain and 
doubtful knowledge. Each of these inquiries will lead 
in due course to the other. We cannot discuss the 
means of increasing knowledge without some kind of 
definition of what knowledge is. And on the other 
hand, we cannot discuss the question of certainty and 
validity of knowledge without casting a glance at the 
large body of actually existing and increasing knowledge. 
For, in actual practice, the pursuit and extension of 




knowledge does not wait till the philosopher has settled 
the criteria of certainty, nor, on the other hand, is the 
problem of certainty settled, in the eyes of the logician, 
by simply pointing to a body of existing and generally 
accepted knowledge, however extensive this may be. 
Still, the extension and growth of knowledge, especially 
of useful knowledge, may be the more attractive side 
of the problem to certain thinkers in certain times and 
surroundings, whilst to other thinkers, in other times 
and placed in a different environment, it may appear 
more important to arrive at some ultimate ground of 
certainty than to examine into the methods by which 
existing knowledge is extended. There is further no 
doubt that, whether we start with the first or the second 
of the two questions involved in the problem of know- 
ledge, we shall in the end have to deal with both. 

From what we have learnt of English philosophy in 
this chapter, as also on former occasions, it will appear 
natural that in the beginning of the modern era of 
thought, the problem of the extension of knowledge 
should, in this country, have presented itself first, that 
the question of the nature of knowledge and the grounds 
of certainty should have come later, that it should have 
gradually been narrowed down to the search for an ulti- 
mate foundation of all knowledge quite independent of 
the particular regions of knowledge which surround us, 
and that the attempt to establish unity and harmony 
should have come last. 

But about the time when this characteristic and 
perfectly logical succession in the different phases of the 
theory of knowledge was started in this country by 


.■ * 





Francis Baxjon, quite different conditions prevailed on the 
22^ Continent. There a pronounced scepticism as to the 
SJougr'"' capacity of the human intellect to reach certainty in 
ScSm' matters of fundamental importance had got hold of men s 
minds. It found expression mainly in French learned 
and polite literature : in the writings of a man of the 
world like Michel de Montaigne^ (1533-1592); of 
Pierre Charron^ (1541-1603), a lawyer and preacher; 
and of Francois Sanchez ^ (died 1632), a professor of 
medicine and philosophy at Montpellier. Out of this 
general scepticism, which rested more on the uncertamty 
that pervaded the thought of the age than on the frmt. 
lessness of the philosophy of the schoolmen or on the 
want of advance in useful knowledge in the dark ages, it 
is the great merit of Descartes to have sought a way to 




1 Montaigne's * Essais ' appeared 
in 1580, an augmented edition in 
1588. "As the most important 
among them may be considered the 
' Apoiogie de Raymond Sebond ' (ii. 
12), which contains important dis- 
cussions on Faith and Knowledge. 
Montaigne founds his doubt upon 
the diversity of individual views : 
every one has a different opinion, 
whereas truth can only be one; 
there is no certain, no generally 
admitted knowledge. Human rea- 
son is weak and blind in all 
things, knowledge is deceptive 
(especially contemporary philosophy, 
which explains explanations and 
not things); and the laws of the 
country, which reason advises us 
to follow, are a seething ocean of 
opinions of a people or a Sovereign " 
(Falckenberg, ' Geschichte der 
Neueren Philosophie,' 1886, p. 34). 
If theoretical certainty is impos- 
sible, practical conduct must rely 
on nature and revelation. 

2 Charron develops Montaigne's 

sceptical and practical position mto 
a system. In his work 'De la 
Sagesse' (1601), "doubt has the 
double purpose to keep alive the 
spirit of research and to lead us 
to Faith. As reason disposes of 
no means by which to distinguish 
truth from falsehood, it follows 
that we are born to search for 
truth but not to possess it. Truth 
abides only in the bosom of the 
Deity, &c., &c." (Falckenberg, 


3 The principal work of Sanchez 
is entitled 'Tractatus de multum 
nobili et prima universali scientia 
quod Nihil Scitur,' and appeared 
one year after the first edition of 
Montaigne. It is directed against 
Aristotle and scholastic philosophy. 
Another work, intended to give the 
true philosophy, never appeared. It 
is interesting to see how views inde- 
pendently expressed by more recent 
thinkers can already be found in 
these the earliest representatives of 
the modern critical spirit. 

certainty and light. He recognised that certainty in the 23. 
highest sense of the word implies trust and confidence, constructive 

, effort. 

In the then prevailing insecurity of external conditions 
and the strife of political and religious parties, such 
certainty could according to him be found by the indi- 
vidual thinker only through retiring into the depths of 
his own mind and seeking there for a central fact or 
self-evident principle from which to start. This he 
found in the process of thought itself. But Thought 
implies a thinking Subject ; it gave him besides an indica- 
tion how to proceed further in the search for truth and 
certainty by suggesting an inquiry into the method of 
thought and into its content. As to the former he was 
led to fix upon the mathematical methods, inasmuch as 
they lead to clearly defined conceptions which bear 
intuitive or immediate evidence of their truth. But 
human thought is also characterised by the fact that it 
leads beyond itself, i,e., beyond the limit of the finite 
thinking subject. Applying the idea of causality, 
Descartes comes to the conclusion that what we now 
term the transcendency of thought cannot have its 
foundation in the thinking subject alone, but implies the 
existence of a higher intellect which he identifies with 
the Divine Mind. In this manner he finds the way out 
of the limits of subjective thought to a belief in another 
reality and into that of external things. In contradis- 
tinction to the immediate evidence of the subjective 
J^ind, the nature of which is thought, the nature of the 
objective world consists in extension, i.e., in the mathe- 
Diatical properties of number and measure. Descartes 

thus establishes the contrast or dualism of a thinking 
VOL. m. X 








and an extended reality, and he thereby fixed the im- 
mediate problem for the speculations of his followers. 

For our present purpose it is unnecessary to dwell 
upon the questionable logic in Descartes* reasoning ; it is 
sufficient to point out that nearly all the different aspects 
which the problem of knowledge presents, and which 
have occupied thinkers up to the present day, are either 
implied or distinctly brought out in Descartes' speculation. 
Such are, e.g., the question of innate ideas, of the deduc- 
tive as compared with the inductive processes of thought, 
the identification of certainty with mathematical precision 
or clearness, and many others. The way out of the un- 
certainty of knowledge, which for Continental thinkers 
was at that time by far the most important problem, 
seemed indeed to be solved in a promising manner by 
the appeal to the mathematical method. This was 
exactly that aspect of thought for which the philosophy 
of Bacon had no appreciation. The latter seemed to be 
unaware of the important part which the application of 
mathematics was to play in the extension of natural know- 
ledge as well as in giving it precision and value.^ The 
exact methods practised by Galileo were extended and 

1 It is, however, well to remem- 
ber that Bacon (1561-1626) preceded 
Descartes (1596-1650) in time; 
that his most important works 
dealing with the "advancement of 
learning " were written in the first 
years of the seventeenth century ; 
that at that time neither ' Kepler's 
Laws' (1609-1618) nor Galileo's 
*Law8 of Falling Bodies' (1612) 
were yet known or published ; that 
the principal discoveries which were 
accessible to Bacon, such as those 
of Gilbert (* de Magnete,' 1600) and 
Harvey (' Circulation of the Blood,* 

1619), had nothing to do with 
mathematics. The Works of Hariot 
and the * Logarithmic Tables ' 
(1594-1614) of Napier, on the other 
side, were probably too exclusively 
mathematical to come within the 
sphere of Bacon's interest in the 
extension of natural knowledge. 
Descartes' 'Discourse on Method 
appeared in 1637. He had thus 
before him much of the best that, 
during that age, had been achieved 
in astronomy and physics through 
the application of measurement and 

perfected by Descartes himself in the application of 
Algebra— the general arithmetic of the Arabians— to 
Geometry ; it changed the latter from a science which, 
though rigorous, was somewhat casual, to a methodical 
doctrine by which configurations in space could be 
generally and exhaustively treated. It must indeed 
have been a seductive prospect for those acquainted with 
the great development of mathematical science which 
followed the invention of the analytical and infinitesimal 
methods to acquire in the uncertain regions of philo- 
sophic thought the grasp and mastery exhibited by 
the mathematical sciences. Nearly all the great Con- 
tinental, notably the French, thinkers of the seven- 
teenth and eighteenth centuries came more or less under 
the spell of this idea. That it did not exert a similar 
spell in this country was largely owing to the fact that 
here the foremost mathematical genius, Newton, retained 
in his immortal works the synthetic methods of the 
ancients, which in the hands of all but the very greatest 
mathematicians remained specific and did not rise to 
abstract generality.i 

The detailed arguments by which Descartes elaborated 
the two main principles of his philosophy, viz., that 
certainty can be found only in and by thinking, and 

The synthetic methods of the 
ancients which were, following the 
example of Newton, retained for a 
long time in the teaching of higher 
mathematics in this country, at- 
tained nevertheless, under the 
hands of French geometricians 
inotably of Monge and Poncelet in 
Jiie begmning of the nineteenth 
century) a systematisation equal in 
importance to the analytical prin- 

ciple of Descartes. This was by 
naeaus of the * Principle of Projec- 
tion.' An analytical interpretation 
of this principle led in the course 
of the nineteenth century to an 
approximation of the two methods 
and in the sequel to an extra- 
ordinary development of mathe- 
matical thought and knowledge 
(see vol. ii. of this History, p. 
658 sqq.) 







Spinoza and 

that knowledge depends on the conviction that unity 
and order pervades everything, need not occupy us at 
present. The fact that he identified this principle of 
unity and order with the personal Deity of religion 
permitted him to bring spiritual and natural knowledge 
into connection and gave to his philosophy a twofold 
interest. For it was capable of being on the one side 
mystically interpreted by spiritual thinkers, whilst on 
the other side the emphasis laid upon mathematical 
reasoning attracted those who had successfully begun to 
explain mechanically many phenomena in nature. 
Whilst the former line of thought led to the religious 
conception that we know and " see all things in God " 
(Malebranche), the mechanical philosophers on the other 
side recognised that for their purposes the supposition of 
a definite (mechanical) order in the universe was all that 
was wanted, and that the task of the natural philosopher 
consisted in tracing in detail some lines of this inwoven 
cypher of all Keality. Towards this Descartes had already 
made a beginning in his celebrated theory of Vortices. 
But the thinker who most consistently devoted himself 
to carrying forward the line of thought suggested by 
Descartes, viz., the ascent through abstract thought to a 
conception of the true order and unity of the world, and 
the working of this by a mathematical method, was 
Spinoza, whose writings, however, acquired their import- 
ance in modern philosophy much later, and need not 
occupy us at present. A more striking immediate 
reaction upon the course of thought on the Continent 
than was exercised by the philosophy of Spinoza, who 
nevertheless influenced contemporary thinkers more than 

has been generally admitted, emanated from Leibniz, and 
this influence has, with important fluctuations, continued 
up to the present day. One of the reasons why this 
influence has again and again made itself felt is because 
none of the great thinkers of modern times has studied 
with such equal interest and sympathy the most opposite 
Hues of thought, and because hardly any one has been 
quahfied in the same degree by genius and education to 
appreciate seemingly contradictory tendencies. Ancient 
and modern, English, French, and Italian philosophies 
were alike known to him ; he was a mathematician and 
abstract thinker as well as a naturalist and historian, a 
practical man of the world as well as a theorist. The 
two great objects which he seems to have had in view all 
through his life were, first, to reconcile apparently opposed 
views, to harmonise existing differences in philosophy, 
pontics, and religion ; and secondly, to lead his theoretical 
and abstract meditations into practical channels. 

Turning now to the special problem with which I am 
dealing in this chapter, the problem of knowledge, we 
find in the philosophy of Leibniz a great advance in his 
conception of the nature of Knowledge and the means 
possessed by the human mind of acquiring it. With 
Descartes the criterion of truth consisted in clearness of 
thinking and immediate evidence, two qualities which 
were nowhere more conspicuous than in the reasoning of 
the mathematical sciences.^ A similar predilection for 

^ This conception of Descartes 
was more fully elaborated by Leib- 
niz. What with Descartes was not 
fiuflSciently distinguished received 
in Leibniz's treatment a somewhat 
more definite expression. He dis- 

tinguishes between what is clear 
from what is also distinct. " Clear " 
is opposed to "obscure," "dis- 
tinct" to "confused." A notion is 
clear if readily recognised ; it is 
distinct if analysable into its parts 









the mathematical form of knowledge is to be found in 
Spinoza, though the latter in the course of his meta- 
physical expositions arrives at the conception that 
discursive knowledge must, in its highest form, become 
intuition, — mediated or rational knowledge having finally 
to pass into intuitive or immediate knowledge.^ This 
idea was revived or independently enunciated by many 

and their connections. (* Medi- 
tations on Cognition, Truth, and 
Ideas,' 1684). "Accordingly the 
a priori or eternal geometrical 
or metaphysical truths are both 
clear and distinct. On the other 
side the a posteriori or actual truths 
are clear but not distinct. The 
former are therefore fully trans- 
parent, accompanied by the con- 
viction of the impossibility of their 
opposite ; with the latter the 
opposite is conceivable. With the 
former, intuitive certainty rests on 
the principle of contradiction ; with 
the latter, their possibility, which is 
proved by their actual reality, 
requires further explication through 
the principle of sufficient reason. 
... In course of its further develop- 
ment this distinction acquired, for 
Leibniz, metaphysical importance. 
He distinguished between absolute 
necessity, which implies the logical 
impossibility of the opposite, and 
a conditioned necessity which is 
merely factual. He divides the 
principles of things into those the 
opposite of which is inconceivable, 
and those of which it is conceiv- 
able " ( Windelband, * Geschichte 
der Philosophie, ' 4th ed., p. 334). 
Prof. Windelband also shows that 
Leibniz originally considered that 
the difference between conceptions 
which are clear and those which 
are in addition fully defined or 
transparent applied only to the 
human or finite intellect, whereas 
in the Divine Intellect this differ- 
ence did not exist ; but that in the 

sequel, in order not to fall into the 
absolute necessitarianism of Spinoza, 
he emphasised the difference of 
necessary and contingent truths. 
Leaving out of consideration, as 
alien to the subject of this chapter, 
the metaphysical aspect, we may 
say that Leibniz approached the 
problem of the difference of certitude 
and precision of knowledge, i.e., 
the difference between knowledge 
which we acquire (by observation 
and reflection) and ultimate con- 
victions which we must possess. 

^ With Spinoza "the cognition 
of all finite things and states leads 
to two highest conceptions — exten- 
sion and consciousness ; they both 
acquire a higher metaphysical im- 
portance than finite things possess, 
they are the attributes [of the 
absolute substance], the finite 
things are only their modes. But 
as abstract thought rises from 
these ultimate distinctions to the 
most general, the ens generalissi- 
mu/niy the conception of the latter 
loses all definite content and there 
remains only the empty form of 
substance. And for Spinoza the 
Deity is All — and as such — Nothing. 
His theology follows entirely the 
lines of mysticism. ... To this 
corresponds also his threefold 
theory of knowledge, which places, 
beyond perception and reflection, 
intuition as the immediate appre- 
hension of the eternal emanence of 
all things out of God, cognition sub 
specie cetemi " (Windelband, loc. 
ciL, p. 342). 

thinkers during the nineteenth century. But the fact 
which must have troubled all those thinkers who 
worked at the unification of thought and the criteria of 
certainty — viz., the existence of the actual knowledge of 
science on the one side and the spiritual knowledge of 
faith on the other — was not sufficiently explained or 
traced to its psychological sources either by Descartes 
or by Spinoza. Leibniz works out the theory of know- 
ledge in opposition to the Cartesian view as well as to 
that of Locke. It is not correct, according to his view, 
that all true knowledge is limited to that which can be 
clearly defined, as the Cartesians maintained, nor is the 
soul originally a tabula rasa as Locke and the empiricists 
maintained. Only a portion of our soul is at any time 
fully illuminated, only a portion of our thoughts arrive 
at the clarity of discursive knowledge.^ Behind and 

^ The two most important ideas 
which Leibniz has the merit of 
introducing into the theory of 
knowledge, and for which he coined 
two distinct terms, are the doctrine 
of the "petites perceptions" and 
that of "apperception," as distin- 
guished from "perception." Both 
these ideas, which have become so 
fruitful in recent philosophy, are 
contained in Leibniz's later, mostly 
posthumously published, works and 
correspondence. Originally mainly 
interested in a development or 
correction of the Cartesian system 
as a comprehensive reasoned creed, 
he had devoted himself to the 
study of the two most prominent 
problems that Descartes had be- 
queathed to his successors. Those 
were, first, the problem of method ; 
secondly, the central metaphysical 
conception of the ultimate reality 
pthe notion of substance. His 
important psychological, and his 

still more important epistemo- 
logical, discussions seem to have 
come to the fore much later, 
notably through his acquaintance 
with the writings of Locke and 
Newton ; the former suggested the 
*Nouveaux Essais,' the latter led 
to the correspondence with Clarke. 
Leibniz's earlier labours were in 
the direction of the development 
of the mathematical methods, and 
resulted inter alia in his invention 
of the calculus, but also in his 
fruitless attempts to import greater 
precision into philosophical reason- 
ing by the invention of a general 
combinatorial method or logical 
calculus which should not only 
prove, but also lead to the dis- 
covery of new truths. " From 
early youth he had the hope to 
find such an art, and it is remark- 
able that a man of his mental cast, 
and with his appreciation of the 
meaning of individuality, should 



around this illuminated portion there lies the region of 
the " petites perceptions," the half illuminated storehouse 
of thought. These " petites perceptions " accompany as 
a background all our thinking, as they also form the 
source and guarantee the continuity of all our thoughts. 
This suggestive view put forward by Leibniz has also 
been taken up in various forms by thinkers during the 
nineteenth century. But Leibniz's immediate successors 
took more interest in the process by which what was 
unclear and mystical might be drawn into clear daylight 
than in emphasising those internal possessions of the 
human mind which can never be completely ration- 

believe in the possibility that the 
highest faculties of the mind could 
some day be reduced to a mechan- 
ism ; in fact, he did not shrink 
even from the consequence that if 
once such a method were found it 
would require only experience and 
ingenuity to find new truths : a 
genius himself, he strove to make 
genius superfluous " (Windelband, 
'Geschichte der Neueren Philo- 
sophic,' vol. i., 4th ed., 1907, p. 
468). The term "petites per- 
ceptions " was characteristic of 
Leibniz's manner of looking at 
things, and had no doubt its origin 
in the infinitesimal method which 
he perfected and applied in the 
calculus : it combined the spirit of 
analysis with the principle of Con- 
tinuity which forms another funda- 
mental notion in Leibniz's specu- 
lation. What in recent psychology 
is termed the " presentation -con- 
tinuum " or the "plenum of con- 
sciousness " was mathematically 
represented in Leibniz's mind by 
the totality or continuous back- 
ground of the " petites perceptions," 
in the same way as geometrical 
structures may be treated as the 

integrals of their infinitesimal ele- 
ments or differentials. The ques- 
tion then arose, how, on this 
continuous background or out of 
this half illuminated store of per- 
ceptions, certain among them rose 
into distinct vision. This led to 
the doctrine of apperception, which 
involved at the same time an activity 
of the human intellect ; likewise 
an idea which we meet with again 
more fully developed in recent psy- 
chology. (See supra, p. 290.) 

^ The study of Leibniz's philo- 
sophy and its continued influence 
on philosophical thought ever since 
affords a good example of the 
difference between a history of 
philosophy or of philosophical sys- 
tems and a history of philosophical 
thought. Leibniz, more like Des- 
cartes, and in contrast to Spino/a, 
published no concise and connected 
statement of his reasoned creed. 
Nearly all his writings seem to 
have been suggested by those of 
other thinkers, or for special per- 
sons, and on special occasions. 
Thus the * Monadology ' was written 
in 1714, for Prince Eugene of 
Savoy, in order to promote a better 



Just as the position taken up by Descartes lent 
itself to a twofold development, the one leading into 

understanding of what he had 
expounded in his ' Th^odicee ' and 
in his various contributions to 
contemporary learned periodicals 
in which, as he says, he "accom- 
modated himself to the language 
of the schools or to the style of the 
Cartesians," it being first written 
in the German language. The 
' Th^odicee ' had been written some 
years earlier at the request of the 
Queen of Prussia, in order to 
counteract the sceptical spirit which 
was spread through the writings 
of Hobbes, Bayle, Gassendi, the 
Socinians and Arminians, &c. His 
most important work, the *Nou- 
veaux Essais,' was similarly com- 
posed after the appearance of 
Locke's famous 'Essay,' and forms 
a kind of running commentary to 
Locke's doctrines. Whilst the two 
former works were published dur- 
ing Leibniz's lifetime, the latter, 
which is by far the most instructive 
and permanently important, was 
not published by Leibniz himself — 
because Locke had died in the 
meantime — but very much later, in 
the year 1765, nearly fifty years 
after Leibniz's death. In conse- 
quence of this disjointed form of 
composition, and still more, of 
publication of Leibniz's Works, it 
has been impossible to settle with 
even approximate certainty many 
important features of his sys- 
tem, the latter still remaining a 
problem to historians of philos- 
ophy. The same circumstance 
further had the effect of allow- 
ing a very one-sided and insuffi- 
cient version of Leibniz's ideas 
to get hold of the philosophical 
mind in Germany during the first 
two-thirds of the eighteenth cen- 
tury. Leibnizianism was no more 
identical with Leibniz's real teach- 
in t,' than Newtonianism in France, 
or Darwinism in Germany, have 

been identical with the doctrines of 
their respective authors. "When 
the 'Nouveaux Essais' were printed 
in 1765 they excited great atten- 
tion. Lessing was going tp trans- 
late them. That the life of the 
soul transcends all that is clear and 
distinctly conscious, and is rooted 
in dimly traceable depths, meant 
insight of the highest value for 
literature ; this was just struggling 
out of the intellectual dryness of 
the Enlightenment, and out of 
insipid correctness to an unfolding 
full of genius ; it opened a view aU 
the more valuable, as coming from 
the same thinker whom Germany 
honoured as the father and hero of 
its Enlightenment. In this direc- 
tion Leibniz worked especially upon 
Herder ; we see it not only in his 
aesthetic views, but still more in his 
prize esr^ay ' On Knowing and Feel- 
ing of the Human Soul.' Under 
the preponderance of the methodo- 
logical point of view, the Leibnizo- 
Wolffian school had strained the 
opposition between rational and 
empirical knowledge as far as 
possible^ and had treated under- 
standing and sensibility as two 
separate 'faculties.' The Berlin 
Academy desired an examination of 
the mutual relation of these two 
separated powers, and of the share 
which each has in human know- 
ledge. Herder represented the 
true Leibniz — as he appeared in 
the ' Nouveaux Essais ' — against 
the prevailing system of the 
schools : he emphasised in his 
treatise the living unity of man's 
psychical life, and showed that 
sensibility and understanding are 
not two different sources of know- 
ledge, but only the different stages 
of one and the same living activity 
with which the ' monad ' compre- 
hends the universe within itself" 
(Windelband loc. cit, p. 388). 







the mathematical sciences and the mechanical explana- 
tion of things, the other to a mystical and spiritual 
view, so also the philosophy of Leibniz pointed in 
two directions. It suggested the attempt to rationahse 
the whole of our knowledge, be it natural or spiritual; 
but it also pointed to the unexhausted wealth of 
inner life out of which a new world of ideas might 
spring up at the right moment. Thus Leibniz uncon- 
sciously heralded, as it were, the two great developments 
which took place in German thought after the middle of 
the eighteenth century; the earlier rationalising move- 
ment during the age of the " Aufklarung " and the later 
spiritual deepening and consequent ideal elevation during 
the age of classical literature and art. We have seen in 
an earlier chapter how the former movement of thought 
led to more and more methodical treatment in all the 
different regions of knowledge; how criticism, in the 
larger sense of the word, developed out of it and be- 
came the great instrument of academic education in all 
the branches of learning which were not covered by 
the mathematical and physical sciences. But we saw 
at the same time how this critical movement derived 
its higher meaning and importance from the existence, in 
the minds of its foremost representatives, of an ideal 
background, which the critical processes hoped, in the 
end, to reach and bring into daylight. This ideal 
background had become a reality through the creative 
genius during the classical and romantic periods of 
German literature and art. 


If we, for a moment, adopt an expression which has 27. 
been coined and become current in modern philosophical unity in 


literature, and according to which philosophy consists in thought, 
unified knowledge, its highest aim being the unification 
of thought, we may say that modern philosophy on the 
Continent consciously worked from its very beginning in 
Descartes towards the attainment of this end, whereas, in 
this country, it only arrived at a recognition of this, its 
highest task, during the latter part of the nineteenth 
century. I have expressed the same idea in other words 
by saying that modern philosophy on the Continent 
aimed at the establishment of a consistent and com- 
prehensive philosophical creed. The boldest attempt to 
solve this problem is no doubt the system of Spinoza, 
whereas Descartes had contented himself with enun- 
ciating certain leading principles. In Spinoza philos- 
ophy attained to an elevation of spirit and diction which 
has only been reached in rare instances. It became to 
its author an expression, as it were, of his deepest re- 
hgious convictions ; it rose to inspiration. Such had 
been the philosophy of Plato in antiquity, such was the 
philosophy of Spinoza in modern times. Both are con- 
spicuous by their grandeur and sublimity. But in the 28. 

" Spinoza and 

same way as Plato's philosophy in ancient times was ^^^^^^ 
followed, and to a large extent superseded, by the sober 
and judicious treatment of Aristotle, so the creative 
effort of Spinoza was superseded, for the time being, 
by the harmonising endeavours contained in Leibniz's 

* t 






and Bayle. 


philosophy. In another point also Leibniz can be 
compared with Aristotle, inasmuch as he was equally 
acquainted with the teaching of otlier earlier or contem- 
porary thinkers, and built upon their foundations. 

There are other causes why with Leibniz philosophical 
thought had entered on a new phase, and, instead of 
venturing on a bold attempt of creation and systematic 
construction, was largely occupied with reconciling ex- 
isting doctrines and apparently contradictory aspects 
of thought. This task of reconciliation and of arriving 
at unification, not so much by constructive effort as 
by a process of harmonising, was pushed into the fore- 
ground and became a desideratum to many thinking 
minds through the writings of a contemporary of 
Leibniz. It was Pierre Bayle who in several of his 
writings had asserted the conflict between religion and 
reason, between the tenets of faith and the doctrines 
of philosophy ; and had exemplified this by pointing to 
the difficulties involved in the problem of evil and 
sin.i Bayle's criticisms gave the occasion to Leibniz 

1 Pierre Bayle (1647-1706) was 
one of the most influential writers 
of the seventeenth century, as 
much through the sceptical tenor of 
his works as through the enormous 
erudition displayed in his * Dic- 
tionnaire Historique et Critique' 
(1695-1697, 2nd augumented ed., 
1702). It formed a principal chan- 
nel of historical knowledge for sev- 
eral generations, continued the scep- 
ticism of earlier French writers like 
Montaigne, and led on to the still 
more celebrated and influential writ- 
ings of Voltaire. It preached toler- 
ance in all matters of doctrine, especi- 
ally of religious beliefs. It was 
the forerunner of the great Ency- 

clopaedia of d'Alembert. who, never- 
theless, as Voltaire indignantly re- 
marks, did not suflBciently ac- 
knowledge his real predecessor. It 
is supposed that Locke, who met 
Bayle in Holland, received his 
ideas on toleration in great part 
from Bayle. Bayle was the great 
exponent of the absolute separation 
of matters of knowledge and mat- 
ters of faith, but not in the sense 
expressed by Bacon and Locke, 
which led to the natural religion 
of the Deists in England, but in 
the older sense, according to which 
religious beliefs would have no 
meaning if they could be logically 
demonstrated. It was this dualism 

for publishing, in 1710, his most popular work, the 
'Theodicee.* In doing so he gave further expression 
to an idea which had been familiar to him for some 
time. He had early recognised that knowledge presents 
two forms — the knowledge of efficient causes and the 
knowledge of final causes, the mechanical and the teleo- 
logical view of things, that it is a desire of the human 

which Leibniz desired to counter- 
act, for wherever it is admitted, 
it leads, in most minds, to a 
strong assertion of scepticism and 
a corresponding indifference, if 
not antagonism, towards religion. 
It must be added that Bayle 
anticipated likewise the modern 
school of thought, which relies 
upon the possibility of establishing 
morals and a system of ethics with- 
out the assistance of any religious 
or philosophical creed. This side 
is fully expounded, e.g., in Prof. 
Jodl's ' Geschichte der Ethik ' (vol. 
i., 2nd ed., p. 418 sqq.). As Bayle 
was quite unsystematic in his writ- 
ings and expounded his fundamen- 
tal convictions as occasion presented 
itself, suggesting, and frequently 
only insinuating, his real meaning, 
his influence may be considered 
from very different points of view. 
The fact that, for him, religious 
truths were not rational but super- 
rational, and that morality did not 
depend upon them but had its 
foundation in human nature itself, 
put such truths out of contact 
both with reason and moral con- 
duct, removing them — without a 
distinct avowal of unbelief — into a 
I'egion which presented little inter- 
est. They were not an essential 
factor for either the intellectual or 
the moral life of humanity. In 
spite of many passages which may 
be construed as revealing personal 
helief in Bayle's own mind, this 
«eems nowhere to be a clear and 

necessary conviction. Thus differ- 
ent writers have put various sides 
of Bayle's reasoning into the fore- 
ground. M. Picavet (in the * Grande 
Encyclopedie,' art. "Bayle") em- 
phasises his doctrine of tolerance ; 
Prof. Jodl hails with approval his 
doctrine of the independence of 
ethics from religion and meta- 
physics ; and Prof. Windelband 
represents him as a pronounced 
exponent of the doctrine of the 
twofold truth. "Religion is for 
him possible only as an actual 
revelation ; in contradiction to 
philosophical knowledge, he rep- 
resents quite rigidly the twofold 
truth ; and, whilst he might, there- 
fore, personally claim credit for a 
faith contrary " — or superior — " to 
reason, his writings, and especially 
the articles in his Dictionary, were 
not less dangerous to the doctrines 
of positive religion than to those of 
the Deists" (Windelband, loc. dt.y 
p. 413). Voltaire, who quotes Bayle 
frequently, does not accept his dic- 
tum that a society of atheists would 
be quite possible. With Voltaire 
some religious beliefs are required 
to regulate and restrain the con- 
duct of men at large. Bayle had 
admitted that true religion, which 
he identifies with the love of God, 
would indeed do so ; but this, he 
thought, was too rai-e an occur- 
rence, and the conventional religion 
of the Churches did morally more 
harm than good* 




mind to trace phenomena back to their antecedent 
causes, but not less so to understand their purpose 
and meaning.^ He appreciated the philosophies of 
Descartes and Spinoza inasmuch as they laid stress 
upon the deductive mathematical treatment, but he 
could not agree with Spinoza, who discarded altogether 
and treated with scorn all teleological explanations. In 
Leibniz philosophical thought arrived at the position 
which, with certain interruptions, it still occupies at 
the present day; its task being, not to afford new 
knowledge, but to mediate between the claims of two 
kinds of knowledge: that which deals with things 

^ From the point of view of the 
problem of knowledge we may thus 
say that Leibniz distinctly an- 
nounced three kinds of knowledge, 
founded upon the law of contra- 
diction (mathematical or metaphys- 
ical truths), the law of sufficient 
reason (all contingent truths found 
by observation and experience, trac- 
ing the causal connection of things), 
and the law of final causes through 
which the apparent contingency in 
nature is raised to the position of 
necessity, inasmuch as in and 
through the contingent facts and 
events in the world a definite 
plan, the design of the Divine 
Creator, is realised. Lotze re- 
marks that this reduces the whole 
scheme of Leibniz to a mathe- 
matical conception. "The whole 
world has its reality from God, 
and indeed in this way that in the 
mind of God there existed many 
consistent schemes, among which 
He admitted that which contained 
the smallest amount of evil and the 
greatest perfection. Such a scheme 
he could not alter or improve, but 
only admit or reject, as a whole. 
We see from this -that also with 
Leibniz the whole content of reality 

resembles a mathematical formula 
in which each part is rigidly de- 
termined by others and itself de- 
termines them, so that not only 
does the past include the future, 
but also the latter the past" 
(Lotze, Syllabus of Lectures on 
•German Philosophy since Kant,' 
1882, p. 7). We shall see further 
on how Lotze himself attempted 
to modify this scheme of Leibniz, 
giving it a freer, not purely logical, 
consistency. Whether we admit 
this rigidity in Leibniz's concep- 
tion or not, it is quite clear that, 
so far as the problem of knowledge 
is concerned, Leibniz admitted the 
necessity of considering the pur- 
pose or meaning of things as a 
clue for finding the mechanical 
causes through which it was at- 
tained : a rule which was applied 
in the shallow and popular phil- 
osophy of the Aufkldrung to put 
forward trivial explanations which 
made the whole ridiculous. This 
was quite contrary to the spirit of 
Leibniz ; for we may say that if 
Spinoza taught us to contemplate 
things "sub specie setemi," Leibniz 
taught us to contemplate them 
"sub specie universi.' 




surrounding us in time and space, and that which 
deals with the higj^est questions of our life, our 
destiny, and our duties.^ Occupying this position, the 
object of the philosopher is not to increase our know- 
ledge of. things natural or spiritual, but to appreciate 
the difference and importance of these two regions of 
knowledge, to show how we acquire each, what kind of 
certainty is attainable in either, and, if possible, to make 
sure that neither of the two should overstep its true 
hmits and interfere with the other. But the immediate 
followers of Leibniz on the Continent did not maintain 
this judicial attitude, but, as I stated above, devoted 
themselves more exclusively to a rationalising of all 
knowledge. This attempt was somewhat justified by 
the necessity of teaching philosophy in the High Schools 
and Universities. It entailed a systematisation of the so. 
Leibnizian ideas, which by their author himself had tSr^f 
never been developed in a final, systematic, and com- ^^ea'^s!''"' 
plete form. In this attempt many of the best sucr- 
gestions of Leibniz were lost — to be taken up again at 
a much later period, as I shall have ample opportunity 
to show in the sequel. 

All the foremost thinkers in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries on the Continent were guided by 
the desire to arrive at a unity of philosophic thought 
and to establish a consistent philosophic creed, which 
should do justice to the claims of science as much as to 
those of religion, affording equally the means of increas- 
ing knowledge and of arriving at the ultimate grounds of 

HpLv*^^ .^*^.^'''®° * ''^^''^^ "^""^^^ ""^ *^^i°g8 with their con- 
aennition to this twofold aspect nections and the world of values 
"y aistmguishing between the or worths. 










t^ew way 
opened by 

f i 

certainty and truth. The outcome of their labours, how- 
ever, was not very encouraging. It seemed rather as if 
the attempt to unify and harmonise had succeeded only 
in showing up more clearly the existing differences. At 
the same time, the growing volume of actual knowledge 
attained in the different empirical sciences, and especi- 
ally the increasing precision which the introduction of 
the mathematical methods afforded, made these sciences 
more self-reliant and dogmatic. On the other side, the 
vagueness and seeming uncertainty of all philosophical 
speculations referring to the general order of the world 
and the destiny of human life produced in many think- 
ing minds doubt and indifference, and among believers 
the conviction that salvation could only be found by a 
strong dogmatic assertion of the truths of traditional 
faith,''which were guaranteed by their historical origin 
and confirmed to the believer by an inner light which 
was not assisted by philosophical reasoning. 

The existence of this dogmatism on both sides, as well 
as the growing doubt and indifference with regard to the 
most important questions which confront the serious 
thinker, led, in the mind of Kant, to what seemed to 
him to be a new way out of the existing dilemma and 
perplexities. It seemed to Kant that, before entering 
on a discussion of the higher problems of philosophy- 
problems which he termed transcendent— it would be 
necessary, systematically and methodically, to examine 
into the processes of observation, experience, and reason- 
ing. Although this had already been, to some extent, 
undertaken by Locke, and before him by Descartes, it 
had not been undertaken for the definite purpose of 

answering the question, how is knowledge possible which 
refers to those things that transcend our senses ? This 
kind of knowledge Kant termed metaphysical. It wa^ 
not the "plain historical method" which Locke had 
adopted that seemed to Kant to lead to a useful solution 
of the problem. The investigations of Locke, pushed to 
their seemingly inevitable consequences, had led to the 
scepticism of Hume, which was followed either by abandon- 
ment of the whole problem or by, what seemed to Kant, 
an uncritical appeal to common-sense. A better way for 
dealing with the questions started by Locke seemed to 
be indicated by the position taken up by Leibniz in his 
'Nouveaux Essais.' These had been posthumously pub- 
lished just about the time (1765) when Kant had 
been strongly influenced by Locke's and Hume's writings. 
This suggestion was contained in the formula which 
Leibniz succinctly opposed to Locke's formula. The 
latter maintained that our intellect contains nothing 
which was not given by our senses. To this Leibniz 
agreed, with the addition, "except the intellect it- 
self." This formula suggested an examination of the 
intellect as such, or, as Kant termed it, the criticism 
of pure reason. In deliberately placing this problem 
before philosophers as an introduction or preHminary 
investigation which should precede any attempt to decide 
whether the human mind was capable of arriving at 
knowledge or certainty regarding things spiritual and 
transcendent, Kant founded that philosophical discipline 
termed later on Erkenntnisstheorie, Epistemology, or 
Theory of Knowledge. The result which Kant arrived 
at, and which appeared to him to contain a reply to all 
VOL. III. . ^ 

■ i 

. f!l 





the vexed questions which then exercised the minds 
of thinkers, was not reached by a detailed psycho- 
logical investigation such as has since been carried 
out through the labours of independent thinkers in 
all the three countries, e.g., Mill, Eenouvier, Wundt, 
and their successors; it was gained by a much 
shorter and much more abstract process. Kant relied 
on two points which he considered were well estab- 
lished. The first and most important of these was 
the existence of a definite amount of perfectly certain 
and assured knowledge contained in the sciences of 
mathematics and mathematical physics ; the second was 
a definite body of doctrine contained in the formal logic 
and the empirical psychology of the schools, both of 
which Kant himself taught in his academic courses. 
So far as the first point is concerned, Kant had a 
broader foundation to build on than Descartes before 
him, inasmuch as he could not only point to pure 
mathematics, but had in addition also, what he con- 
sidered the ideal of scientific achievement— the natural 
philosophy of Newton.^ So far as the second point is 

1 It has, however, been shown {e.g., 
by E. Diihring in his ' Kritische 
Geschichte der Allgemeinen Prin- 
cipien der Mechanik,' 3rd ed., 1887) 
that Kant's notions as to the prin- 
ciples of dynamics and physics were 
still extremely inaccurate and con- 
fused. Although in the minds of 
some of the great mathematicians, 
such as Newton in England and 
d'Alembert in France, very precise 
views existed, these have only very 
slowly become the property of 
philosophical thinkers. Nor does 
it appear as if Kant himself con- 
tributed much to this important 
clearance of ideas. Neither his 

early tract, which deals ^with the 
measure of vis viva (1753), nor 
his treatment of dynamical and 
physical conceptions in the cele- 
brated 'Natural History of the 
Heavens' (1755), shows any strict 
definition or consistent use of 
dynamical principle^. And it i» 
significant that Ernst Mach in 
his historical Treatise on these 
subjects C Mechanik in ihrer Ent- 
wickelung,' 1883, Eng. trans, by 
M'Cormick) has no occasion to 
refer to Kant. With Kant the 
fundamental notions of arithmetic 
(numerical and general), of geom- 
etry (synthetic and analytic), oi 

concerned, he was hampered by the formalism in the 
logic as well as in the psychology of his day, both of 
which he gratefully accepted. 

In spite of the strong recommendation of the induc- 
tive methods by Bacon, the science of logic dealt, at that 
time, mostly only with deductive and syllogistic reason- 
ing, without attempting to analyse the processes by which 
knowledge was extended in the natural sciences, such as 
the methods of inference and of proof. And Kant's 
psychology was the empirical faculty-psychology of the 
school of Wolfif, improved by some of his followers, 
such as Tetens and Baumgarten. 

The theory of Knowledge had been independently 32. 

•^ ° 11 Relation to 

attacked by Locke and Hume ; but Kant was able to Locke, 

•' Hume, and 

go beyond the position they had reached, for he had Leibniz, 
before him the significant and suggestive answer which 

phoronomy (kinematics), of dyn- 
amics (kinetics), and of physics 
(gravitational and other) were none 
of them clearly distinguished. That 
in each of these sciences an addi- 
tional notion, principle, or axiom is 
involved was not clear to thinkers — 
certainly not to philosophers— of 
that age, nor for a long time after. 
Kant identified numbering with the 
temporal series in analogy with 
geometry, which deals with spatial 
series or dimensions. The purely 
phoronomical science of "kine- 
matics," of which Kepler's Laws 
were the most brilliant example, 
was not separated from " kinetics," 
which is based on Galileo's experi- 
ments and Newton's laws of motion, 
implying the conceptions of force 
and inertia (mass). Again, New- 
ton's natural philosophy, which to 
Kant was the ideal of a science, 
brought in the notion of attrac- 
tion (action at a distance), a purely 

empirical fact, based upon a syn- 
thesis of Kepler's and Galileo's 
discoveries. To these notions Kant 
added in his cosmological theories 
the correlated notion of repulsion, 
following the vaguer theories of 
the ancients, and suggested also 
by elementary electric and mag- 
netic phenomena. The modern 
conception of energy was, so far 
as mechanical phenomena are con- 
cerned, anticipated by Leibniz, who 
suggested a measure for mechanical 
action. That the celebrated con- 
troversy which raged over this 
matter between the Leibnizians 
and the Cartesians had been 
finally settled by d'Alembert in 
his 'Traite de Dynamique' (1743) 
seems to have been unknown to 
Kant ten years later. In the last 
chapter we have seen how Kant 
was also influenced by the tradi- 
tional psychology of his day. 


Locke and 



Leibniz had given to Locke's sensationalism in the 
'Nouveaux Essais' published in 1765.^ It is probable 
that the study of the latter helped to give to Kants 
speculation its peculiar and characteristic form. 

From the Introductions to their respective works 
which treat of the theory of Knowledge, the 'Essay' 
of Locke and the first ' Critique' of Kant, we learn that 
both thinkers were led to their investigations by the 
desire to explain and possibly to aid in settling differ- 
ences of opinion which they met with among thinking 
persons and in the teaching of the schools. But these 
differences were, with Locke, enclosed in a narrower 
circle— we may say they were Confessional differences. 
During the period of more than two generations which 

times as a continuous develop- 
ment under various influences, that 
of Rousseau being also specially 
mentioned. This view of the con- 
tinuity in Kant's development is 
mainly represented by Prof. Hoff- 
ding in his interesting articles m 
the seventh volume of the ' Arcliiv 
fiir Geschichte der Philosophic 
(1894). Neither he uor F. Paulsen 
('Immanuel Kant') refers to the 
fact that the 'Nouveaux Essais 
of Leibniz were made known 
to the world in 1765, just before 
the time when the Copernican 
change in Kant's views was being 
established. This is brought out by 
Prof. Windelband in an article in 
the ' Vierteljahrsschrift fiir wissen- 
Bchaftliche Philosophic' (18/ bj, 
and referred to in his works on his- 
tory of Philosophy, quoted above. 
It is somewhat remarkable tnau 
Hoffding in his impoi-tant Discus- 
sion does not refer to Windelband s 
article ; Paulsen mentions it only 
incidentally, and attaches little 
importance to it. 

1 This opens out an interesting 
historical question, which may be 
somewhat differently answered ac- 
cording as our interest lies in 
the development of thought or in 
that of Kant's own ideas. Kant 
was wont to compare the revolu- 
tion in Thought, which he sug- 
gested, to that worked by Coper- 
nicus in physical astronomy. As 
the latter had changed the centre 
of the universe from the earth to 
the sun, so Kant proposed to change 
thecentre of Ideology from the exter- 
nal world of experience and science 
to the internal active principle of 
the human intellect. But this 
was indicated already in Leibniz s 
formula. Historians of the Kantian 
philosophy tell us, as Kant did 
himself, of a turning-pomt in his 
speculations, and assign this to a 
period somewhere about 1769 or 
1770. This is represented some- 
times as a kind of awakening out 
of his dogmatic slumbers, and is 
then connected with the influence 
of Hume {e.g., by Paulsen), some- 




lie between Locke's and Kant's Treatises, the circle of 
interests had widened as much through the influence of 
Locke's speculations themselves in this country, and still 
more in France, as through that religious and political 
unrest which, in the sequel, led to the French Eevolu- 
tion. The difference between political, social, and re- 
ligious creeds had become .more and more accentuated 
till it became a question, not of different shades of 
belief but of belief and unbelief, not of different orders 
of society but of the maintenance or dissolution of any 
order, of scepticism, of indifferentism, and subsequently, 
of anarchy. The problems which presented them- 
selves to Locke in a limited sphere had gradually 
assumed the largest dimensions, and required much 
deeper research and more drastic methods for their 
solution.^ As an example, we need only point to the 

^ That Kant's main object in 
publishing his ' Critical Philosophy ' 
was to settle the conflict between 
Knowledge and Faith is clearly 
brought out by Paulsen in the 
Introduction to his Work. It is 
mentioned by Kant himself in the 
preface to the first edition (1781), 
but still more emphatically in that 
to the second edition (1787). 
Whereas in the earlier preface he 
treats the subject more from a 
purely scientific point of view, 
attacking mainly the dogmatism 
and indifferentism of the age, and 
mentioning only incidentally in 
the Introduction the higher prob- 
lems, he very emphatically urges 
the practical consequences of his 
doctrine in the later preface. This 
was no doubt done in order to ex- 
plain more clearly what he had 
secretly at heart : to establish be- 
yond doubt and cavil the sacred- 
ness of the moral law and the 

religious beliefs which it entails. 
" A cursory view," he says, " of this 
Work may suggest that the value 
of it is purely negative, to induce 
us in speculation never to venture 
beyond the limits of experience ; 
and this is indeed its first merit. 
. . . But such a criticism ... is 
indeed of very great and positive 
value if we consider that there ex- 
ists a necessary, practical, the moral, 
use of pure reason, in which it in- 
evitably extends itself beyond the 
limits of our sensuous experience " 
(Pref. to 2nd. ed., Rosenkranz' ed. 
of ' Kant's Works,' vol. ii. p. 675). 
"In this way the teaching of 
morality maintains its position, as 
does likewise natural science its 
own. . . . And just this Discus- 
sion shows the positive gain of the 
critical principles of pure reason 
with regard to the conception of 
God and of the simple nature of 
our Soul (p. 678). I had accord- 

' -J 




wider view on reUgious toleration of Bayle in France 
and later of Leasing in Germany compared with that 
of Locke in England. How much more important a 
correct theory of knowledge and the problem of ultimate 
certitude had become in the interval and to foremost 
thinkers on the Continent is shown by the tone of the 
two Introductions referred to above. The plain histori- 
cal method of the friend of Bayle and Sydenham and 
the tutor of Shaftesbury in England, contrasts signifi- 
cantly with the boldness of the solitary thinker of 
Konigsberg (the " All-Destructive "). who sweeps away 
all the existing philosophy of the schools, proclaims 
a new era of thought, and anticipates that withm twenty 
years the new doctrine, with all its important and re- 
assuring consequences, might be generally accepted. 

Kant indeed, had at heart a vindication of the funda- 
mental verities of religion : of the belief in the existence 
of God, the Immortality of the soul, and the Freedom of 
the Will. Was the human intellect able to reach m 
these matters of belief something like that certainty 
which belonged, according to his view, to the sciences of 

inelv to remove knowledge in order 
to gain room for faith. The dog- 
matism of metaphysics . . . is 
the real source of all yn»^elief 
which contradicts morality (p. 6/a). 
This is not a performance which 
should be undervalued: once for 
all by a Socratic method, i.e., 
through a clear proof of the ignor- 
ance of their opponents to put an 
end to all attacks on morality and 
rehgion " (p. 679). , 

1 At the end of his first ' Critique 
Kant gives what he terms the 
'History of Pure Reason,' and 
closes this short chapter by con- 

trasting his method with that of 
Wolff on the one side and of Hume 
on the other. "The critical way 
is the only one open. If d^Y 
reader has been obliging and 
patient enough to follow this in 
my company he may then judge 
whether . . . what many centuries 
have not been able to attain might 
not be achieved before the end ot 
the present one, namely, to give 
to human reason complete satis- 
faction regarding that which has 
always, but hitherto unsuccessfully, 
engaged her curiosity." 



applied mathematics; and, if not, on what foundation 
had this belief to rest ? Mere experience could not 
give to knowledge the characteristics of universality 
and necessity — it could not make it generally valid or 
convincing. The question then presented itself, how 
does some of the knowledge we possess, viz., mathe- 
matical knowledge, arrive at this generality and con- 
vincing evidence ? Leibniz had suggested that empirical 
knowledge did not consist merely of a collection of 
sensations, but that there was the intellect itself which 
collected them. And with Kant the problem of know- 
ledge took the form of asking : What does the intellect 
supply so as to bring into the casual material gained by 
experience, the logical qualities of universality and 
certainty ? And this question was asked with an eye 
to the higher interests of the human mind, the truths 
of morality and religion. 

By formulating the problem in this way, Kant issued, 
as it were, the programme of philosophical thought not 
only for his age but down to the present day. It is, 
however, well to recognise that, so far as the theory of 
knowledge is concerned, he was not in a position, nor 
in possession of the necessary preliminaries, to carry out 
his programme successfully. This has been done, to 
some extent, by thinkers in all the three countries 
since his time. In Germany, and largely also in France, 
it has been done mainly under the influence of Kant's 
own doctrine ; in this country — as we have seen above — 
an independent beginning was made by John Stuart Mill, 
who, probably only through the study of Hamilton's philo- 
sophy, was induced to lay his account with Kantian ideas. 

; ' 





Be this as it may, the philosophy of Kant has, as the 
^:^ nineteenth century advanced, been more and more con- 
"po'S!"' sidered as a central point in the development of modern 
thought. Especially so far as the problem of knowledge 
is concerned, we find that the different sides which this 
problem presented to different thinkers in different 
countries were already explicitly given or implicitly 
contained in the writings of Kant. Here his lastmg 
influence may be shown in the great number of pre- 
liminary and subsidiary problems which he formulated, 
and into which he divided the main problem itself; 
not least also in the large array of new terms which 
he introduced for the definition of these problems. 
Throucrh them he succeeded in fixing the attention 
of his°own and subsequent ages. For our present pur- 
pose it may be convenient to gather this formidable 
body of thought under three headings. 

First, Kant gave to the ancient theory of the Ke- 
lativity' of Knowledge a new form and expression. He 
did away -with the primary (mathematical) properties 
of external things, which even Locke considered to 
afford a real, not merely a phenomenal, knowledge ot 
thing's He showed that these properties, which refer 
to the existence of things in time and space, are not 
less dependent on the nature of the human mind than 
the so-called secondary properties which depend on 
the nature and operation of our several sense-organs. 
Also he showed that to the forms of time and space 
belonged a special definiteness, that the conceptions 
of extension and duration, and the properties of things 
connected therewith, possess a greater convincmg evi- 


of Know- 



dence, more generality and stability than attaches to 
the casual and fleeting impressions of our senses. This 
view crystallised in the doctrine of the Ideality of time 
and space. 

Secondly, havincr deprived external reality of all the se. 

•^ ° ^ '' . The sensible 

attributes with which the human mind describes it, and the 


maintaining that these refer only to its appearance 
in time and space, not to its intrinsic essence, he never- 
theless did not destroy what remained in the human 
mind as a definite, though empty, idea of a thing. This 
essence of reality, the truly real, as opposed to the 
merely phenomenally real, Kant described as the Nou- 
menon, that which we are obliged to think though we 
cannot see or describe it. For this he coined the 
characteristic term, the " Thing in itself " ; the un- 
knowable substance and cause which lie behind the 
phenomenal world. He identified it with the Intel- 
ligible as opposed to the merely Sensible. This remain- 
ing phantom, a relic of earlier metaphysics, which Kant 
did more to perpetuate than to explain and correct, 
has done incalculable mischief in subsequent systems of 

> ' 

^ It was especially unfortunate 
that this doctrine of the *' Thing 
in itself" became, for a consider- 
able time, the central point of 
interest in the literature which 
sprang up abundantly around the 
Kantian philosophy with the object 
of confirming or refuting it. The 
novelty of the term gave it ex- 
aggerated importance, as did like- 
wise a mistaken explanation given 
of it by Reinhold, who otherwise, 
as we shall see presently, was one of 
the most successful expounders of 
Kantian ideas. '* In all these dis- 

cussions it is important to note 
that they jreferred only to the 
* Critique of Pure Reason,' and that 
none of those who led them under- 
stood at all the ultimate connection 
of the Kantian * Critiques.' Just 
for this reason the notion of the 
' Thing in itself ' which, with Kant, 
was the connecting link between 
theoretical and practical philos- 
ophy, was here considered only in 
its theoretical meaning, and as 
such, it was rightly found to be 
untenable. Thus it has come 
about that this conception, which 




The regula- 
tive ideas. 


Thirdly having distinguished the two worlds, the 
intellicnble and the sensible, the world of things in 
themselves and the world of mere appearance, he 
applied this distinction to the human mind itself, and 
maintained that so far as our own self and nature are 
concerned, we possess an entrance into the world of 
the truly real. Following on the lines indicated already 
in antiquity in the Ideology of Plato, he distinguished 
the world of ideas from that of phenomena : for Kant, 
however, ideas did not add anything to, they served only 
to regulate, experience. Foremost among these regu- 
lative ideas stands out the self-regulating freedom of 
the human Will. Indeed to safeguard this and the 
moral law was a prompting idea in Kant's whole specu- 
lation. Here we meet with our real nature, we gam a 
glimpse of the existence of a universal mind. This 
view has become a leading idea in many of the foremost 
ethical systems since the time of Kant : we shall have 
specially to consider it in a later chapter. So far as the 
theory of knowledge is concerned, it had the important 
influence of representing the human mind, not as merely 
receptive or reflective, as was the case in the philo- 

for Kant's theory of Knowledge 
recedes into the background com- 
pared with that of a pHori know- 
ledge, was in the sequel pushed 
into the foreground, and that the 
main object of the ' Critique was 
sought ... in this doctrine of 
the 'Thing in itself.' Ajid this 
tendency was nursed by the fact that 
the majority of the opponents was 
composed of popular philosophers 
and teachers whose interest con- 
sisted primarily in disproving 
Kant's refutation of a reasoned 

knowledge of 'Things in them- 
selves.' As these objections re- 
acted upon the followers of Kant, 
these strove to clear the notion of 
the 'Thing in itself . . • o^ 
its inherent contradictions. . . • 
Accordingly the further develop- 
ment of the critical philosophy 
was mainly occupied with the dis- 
integration of the notion of the 
'Thing in itself" (Windelband, 
*Geschichte der Neueren Philo- 
sophic,' vol. ii. p. 201). 

i m 



Sophies of Locke and even of Leibniz, but as an active 
principle. Knowledge is not merely collected, arranged, 
and abstracted, it is essentially also created by the 
human mind, or, as Kant said, by human Eeason. 

It is not only in the Kantian theory of knowledge 
that we find a novel treatment of these three main points 
— the nature of time and space, the difference of appear- 
ance and reality, and the formative or active principle of 
the human intellect; even thinkers who, like Comte, 
Mill, and Herbert Spencer, elaborated their theories inde- 
pendently, have eventually arrived at conclusions which 
were more or less in harmony with views explained or 
indicated by Kant himself.^ His philosophy, and as 

^ Among the contemporaries and 
early critics of Kant three deserve 
notice as dealing specially with the 
theory of Knowledge and connect- 
ing or contrasting Kant's doctrine 
with earlier speculation. Gottlob 
Ernst Schulze (1761-1823) wrote 
under the name (with its sceptical 
suggestion) of Aenesidemus (1792). 
He shows that the critical philosophy 
does not solve the problem left over 
by Hume ; for, according to Kant, 
causality, being a necessary form of 
thought and applicable only to 
things of experience, is not appli- 
cable to the "Thing in itself," to 
that which transcends experience. 
The new philosophy thus contains 
an inherent contradiction, and the 
great problem of knowledge remainti 
where Hume left it. Salomon 
Maimon (1754-1800) came from 
the Jewish religion through great 
vicissitudes of life and thought to 
study Kant's philosophy, after 
having become acquainted with 
the works of Spinoza, Leibniz, 
Locke, and Hume. He attempted 
to remodel the Kantian theory of 
knowledge by doing away with the 

unknowable "Thing in itself," and 
reducing the evident diflference as 
to clearness and certainty of know- 
ledge to that indicated already by 
Leibniz in his doctrine of the petites 
perceptions. Kant had a high 
opinion of Maimon's ability, and 
went even the length of saying 
that he was the one of his followers 
who had understood him best. 
The best and most concise of his 
writings is considered to be that 
on the 'Categories of Aristotle* 
(1794). It is interesting to note 
that he undertook to write a philo- 
sophical dictionary, evidently re- 
cognising the important part which 
verbal terms play in philosophy. 
The third and most constructive 
among the earlier critics is Jacob 
Sigismund Beck (1761-1842), who 
led on to three important develop- 
ments of philosophic thought, to 
Fichte, Herbart, and Schopenhauer. 
He likewise rejected the Kantian 
solution as contained in the doctrine 
of the "Thing in itself." "He 
found the only possible position 
from which the critical philosophy 
could be judged in this, that what 










of extant 
body of 

part of it also his theory of knowledge, may thus 
be regarded as a focus in which the different lines of 
earlier thought, both ancient and modern, were collected 
and brought into mutual contact, and from which they 
emanated with altered shades and colours. And still 
more has the general tenor of his thought, his critical 
attitude, as shown in an earlier chapter, been almost uni- 
versally adopted in the course of the nineteenth century, 
and more so towards the end than in the beginning of 
the period. Kant is, therefore, a representative thinker. 
His philosophy looks backward and forward and all 
around, and consciously or unconsciously mirrors the 
thoucTht of his own and the subsequent age: of 
his own country as well as that of the neighbouring 
nations. To show this, we need only take up the two 
aspects which I mentioned above. Consider, first, the 
emphasis which Kant laid upon the existence of a body 
of certain and assured knowledge contained m the 
mathematical and mechanical sciences. Here he not 
only inherited the predilection for mathematical treat- 
ment characteristic of French philosophers as well as of 
Spinoza and Leibniz, but he also assimilated the spirit 

to an individual consciousness 
is given as an 'object' must be 
contained in an original hyper- 
individual consciousness which is 
accordingly authoritative, so far as 
empirical knowledge is concerned. 
In the place of 'things in them- 
selves' he put Kant's 'conscious- 
ness in general.' In this way he 
explained the apriority of mental 
forms and categories, so that what is 
given in the manifold of sensation 
remained also for him the unsolved 
residue of the Kantian problem 
(Windelband, ' Geschichte der Philo- 

sophic,' p. 485). Prof. Windel- 
band shows also how near he comes 
in some respects to Berkeley s 
Idealism. " It cannot be demed 
that between the standpoint oi 
Beck and that of Berkeley the 
dividing lines are difficult to draw. 
But neither Kant nor Fichte occu- 
pied Berkeley's position. Kant 
did not, inasmuch as he stuck to 
the reality of things in themselves ; 
neither did Fichte, inasmuch as ne 
was far removed from the spirit- 
ualistic ground of the English 

of the Newtonian philosophy in the exaggerated form in 
which it was later proclaimed by the school of Laplace 

in France. 

And so far as the second point mentioned above is ^^ ^9- 
concerned, Kant's acceptance of traditional psychology *^yS^. 
and his reliance upon definite categories or forms of 
judgment suggested by the Aristotelian logic, supplied 
a fruitful subject for discussions among followers and 
opponents. These showed the necessity for that deeper 
psychological and anthropological treatment which logical 
doctrine subsequently received at the hands of English, 
German, and French thinkers. 

In the following chapters we shall have abundant 
occasion to realise the central position which Kant 
occupies in philosophical thought. At present we are 
specially concerned with the new lights which, as we 
have seen, he was able to throw upon the problem of 
knowledge. And here one of the great defects of Kant's 
method has revealed itself as much through the labours 
of his followers as through the criticism of his opponents. 
This defect consisted in the apparent want of unity in 
his doctrine. That this was to a large extent only ^^p^J-^^ 
apparent has been shown by recent historians of philo- ^^nt of 
sophy, and more fully in the researches of a whole series 
of writers who have made the study of Kant's works 
their principal task.^ That it struck his contemporaries 

^ Among these may be mentioned 
a series of publications which was 
started in 1896 by Prof. Hans 
Vaihinger under the title 'Kant- 
studien,' and which has been con- 
tinued up to the present day ; 
further, a number of independent 
works by thinkers all over Germany 


and latterly also in other countries, 
the titles of which may be found 
in the tenth edition of the 4th 
part of Ueberweg-Heinze's ' History 
of Philosophy,' p. 225. This ex- 
tensive literature has been fully 
consulted in their respective ' His- 
tories of Philosophy ' by Hoffding 


T -^jar^ 







so forcibly is owing to various circumstances, among 
which the two following are of special interest in a 
History of Thought. The first refers to the internal 
character, the second to the external fate, of the new 


In Kant, the critical and analytical, the dividing and 
dissecting spirit, cast into the background the synthetic 
and constructive process of thought, and still more the 
synoptic and comprehensive view.^ Although Kant had, 
as stated above, a central conviction which was in the 
end to be the crowning idea of his system,— the supreme 
reality, importance, and dignity of the moral principle,- 
this was not put forward with sufficient clearness and 
emphasis as a constructive principle in the first of his 


and Windelband, who themselves 
have made important contributions. 
Prof. Vaihinger was also active, 
on the occasion of the Kant 
Centenary, 1904, in creating a 
*♦ Kant-foundation " and a " Kant- 
Society." The Berlin Academy has 

edition of Kant's Works and Corre- 
spondence. As Professor Heinze 
says, "a real comprehensive digest 
of the results of recent Kant re- 
searches has not yet appeared." 

1 Anticipating what I shall en- 
deavour to bring out more clearly 
in this and following chapters, I 
may say that the synthetic and 
constructive spirit gained the upper 
hand in the most prominent of 
Kant's immediate followers, in 
Fichte. Subsequently, the synoptic 
view was that peculiar to Schelling, 
in whose writings the power of 
synthesis and of construction, and 
still more that of criticism and 
patient analysis, was much less 
conspicuous. The synthetical pro- 
cess, although opposed by Kant 
himself to the analytical in his 

celebrated distinction between syn- 
thetic and analytic judgments 
leads always only to an artificial 
product in which the constituent 
elements are still discernible, as 
the stones are in a building, the 
particles in a mosaic, or the parts 
in a machine. In order to come 
nearer to the true nature of real, 
physical or mental, things, we must 
start with their Together as it pre- 
sents itself in the expanded world 
of time and space, or as it is con- 
centrated in the totality of human 
intellect and character. This was 
the starting-point of Schelling s 
original speculations, reached, to a 
great extent, under the influence 
of Goethe's poetical insight into 
the world of nature and of mind. 
Hegel, in his conception of the 
absolute mind, tried to combine 
the synoptical view of Schelling 
with the constructive spirit ot 
Fichte, and in doing so has, in a 
different way from Kant, issued 
what has become the programme 
of philosophical thought ever since. 

great works, nor did Kant ever carry out his intention 
of giving the new metaphysic or reasoned philosophical 
creed which he had in his mind, and which was im- 
plicitly contained in what he modestly represented as 
merely preparatory works. The result was that he was 
often misunderstood and misrepresented. Some mis- 
interpretations, even of his followers and admirers, he 
tried to correct in his later writings, but it was left to 
others to import unity into the seemingly disconnected 
parts of his doctrine. As this unity was not that which 
Kant himself had in view, it led away from the main 
line of thought which he had marked out. 

So far as the second point is concerned, it is important 
to note that the first successful attempt to introduce 
the Kantian philosophy to the general intelligence of the 
nation, and subsequently to the students of the German 
universities, happened to issue from that centre which 
had already become the home of the creative genius in 
German poetry, literature, and art. It was there, in the 
innermost circle of German culture, at Weimar and 
Jena, that the earlier Kantian school of philosophy was 
founded by a man who had started from entirely different 
beginnings, but who was troubled by the same religious 
and doctrinal perplexities as Kant himself had in view, 
and who had personally experienced, in the depths of 
his own soul, the reassuring and strengthening influ- 
ence of the Kantian doctrine. This was Keinhold ^ Reinhoid. 

I 1 

^ Karl Leonhard Reinhoid was 
boru in Vienna and received his 
education in a Jesuit College, 
which he had to leave when the 
Order was suspended by Pope 
Clement XIV. in 1773. Thence 

he entered a freer atmosphere in 
another Roman Catholic College, 
in which he subsequently became a 
teacher of philosophy. Carefully 
watched by the Order to which he 
still belonged, he escaped to Leipzig, 




(1758-1823), who, as Kuno Fischer says, is "in a certain 
sense a compendious expression of the development of 
[German] philosophy during the last decade of the 
eic^hteenth century." An ardent admirer of Kant s first 
' Critique.' which he had read five times, he set before 
himself two distinct tasks. 

The first of these was to make Kafifs doctrine more 
easily and more generally understood, to mitigate the un- 
couth terminology in which it had been propounded, bnng- 
ing the leading ideas of his teaching into contact wih 
the general thought of the age and making it a fit sub- 
ject for academic instruction. The second wbb to import 
a greater unity and harmony into the Kantian doctnne, to 
fill up the gaps which had apparently been left between 
the different parts of the system, and to arrange the 
whole according to one all-embracing principle. The first 
task he brilliantly accomplished in his ' Letters on the 
Kantian Philosophy,' which were published in Wielaud s 
literary journal five years after the appearance of Kants 
first ' Critique,' and which may be said to have trans- 
planted Kantian philosophy from its eccentric position 

'Critique.' Captivated especi- 
allv by the practical and religious 
tdL contained therein "he finds 
here the foundations of faith inde- 
pendent of all metaphysical know- 
ledge, and, in consequence, the 
doubis solved which free though 
creates. He is convinced that 
the Kantian philosophy, correctly 
understood, must Produce a bene- 
ficial and radical change of human 
thought, and he determines to do 
his pirt to let this light be kindled 

in men's minds" (Kuno Fischer, 
' Geschichte,' &c., vol. v. p. 4dj. 



and from there, through an intro- 
duction of the Austrian poet Blu- 
mauer to Wieland, he came to Wei- 
mar and became an inmate of the 
family of Wieland, whose daughter 
he subsequently married. A con- 
tributor, and later on the editor of 
Wieland's literary periodical, * Der 
Deutsche Merkur,' he first came 
across Kant's writings in a review 
of Herder's 'Ideen' which Kant 
had published in the first volume 
of the recently founded ' Jenaer 
Litteraturzeitung.' To this he re- 
plied, but was led to a pro- 
found study of Kants first 

in the extreme north-east into the centre of Germany. 
From there it spread to Gottingen, Leipsic, and subse- 
quently to all the Protestant and to some of the Eoman 
Catholic teaching centres of Germany. At Weimar it 
came into contact with, and was eventually greatly 
influenced by, the new literary — at once poetical and 
religious — movement. The importance and promise of 
this new movement ^ had been early recognised by the 
spirited Duchess, Anna Amalia of Weimar, a Brunswick 
princess and niece of Frederick the Great, who, after the 
early death of her husband, ruled the small State with 
remarkable intelligence, and with an equal regard for the 
welfare of the people and the culture of art, science, 
literature, and learning. For the education of her two 
sons she had engaged the celebrated author, Wieland; 
his recommendation being that in one of his writings he 
had discoursed with much freedom and liberality on the 
education of princes and the administration of the State. 
By this step she laid in 1772 the foundation of the lead- 
ing position which Weimar occupied for a long time during 
the golden age of modern German literature and art.^ 

^ Many recent historians of liter- 
ature and philosophy have tried to 
convey to the present more prosaic 
and realistic generation an idea of 
the great change which took place 
m German culture at that period. 
I quote only one passage among 
many. " The whole culture of the 
age had arrived at a great turning- 
point. It began to descend into 
more profound depths of thought 
and sentiment. Feeling and pas- 
sion began to waken from slumber, 
imagination stirred gently and ven- 
tured, here and there, to penetrate 
through the surface dried up by 

rationalism. To act, to suffer, and 
to enjoy with one's whole being — 
this striving had awakened in 
deeper minds such as that of 
Hamaun. In the poetry of the 
youthful Goethe it found vent in 
stirring revelations. It worked in 
no one so actively and in so many- 
sided a manner as in the soul of 
Herder," &c. (Haym : * Herder, 
nach seinem Leben und seinen 
Werken,' vol. i., 1880, p. 577). 

^ During the fourteen years 
previous to the importation of 
Kantian philosophy into the liter- 
ary circle, enormous changes had 






Through the transportation of Kantian ideas into this 
centre the fate of the new doctrine was for long decided 
in advance. The exclusively critical character which the 
titles of Kant's larger works perhaps unduly emphasised, 
had, under the influence of a great national, educational, 
and literary movement, soon to be abandoned or left to 
^eluded thinkers. The doctrine had on the other side to 
contribute what it could to that movement itself, which, 
as I have had frequent opportunity to remark, was 
destined to bring about nothing less than the poetical 
literary, artistic, and, in the sequel, t^^e poMical ele_^at ^ 
and regeneration of the German nation. That m th 
midst of such interests the problem of knowledge would 
occupy an important position was just as clear as it wa 
certain that this problem would not be conceived in a 



taken place in the small Duchy, 
which comprised only 750 square 
miles. Three years after the 
arrival of Wieland the regency had 
been terminated by the accession 
of the young Duke, Karl August 
who having, in the company of 
his military tutor, Knebel, a man 
with many literary and intellectual 
interests, become acquainted with 
Goethe at Frankfort, invited the I 
latter to Weimar offering him 
a high position in his Adminis- 
trative Council. Not long after 
this he had, at Goethe's suggestion, 
appointed Herder to fill the highest 
clerical position in the <:ountry, 
admiring in him a liberal and 
spiritual theologian, qualified to 
oppose the prevailing narrow ortho- 
doxy. The University of Jena 
flourished likewise under this en- 
lightened government, and counted 
among its professors many eminent 
scholars and naturalists. Among 
these were Schiitz and Hufeland, 
who, as editors of a renowned 

literary paper, represented, as did 
Wieland in a ditierent way, the 
new literary spirit in opposition to 
the prosaic 'Aufklarung' which 
had its centre m Berlin^ A 
Goethe wrote to Ecke^°^^°°' T 
Duke " possessed the talent to taKe 
the meagre of different mmds and 
characters, and to assig^/^^^^J^^ 
T)lace" And as the latest bw 

savs, " By means of this great gift, 
an'd with his generous temperamen 

and his rich talents, he not only 

succeeded in gathenng around him 

I the first minds of the nation bu^^^ 

1 what was much more, he retained 

them" (vol. i.. 7tV^- ,\^^^e a 
276). For the third time 

i Julian Schmidt Bays, "after 151 

' (Luther) and 1675 (Leibmz), oje 

^f the small States monopolised tb 

intellectual movement m Germany 

and gave to it a special character 

C Geschichte der Deutschen Litter 

atur,'vol. ii.,lS86,p. 240). 

narrow and purely logical spirit. -The consequence was 
that the critical movement which in philosophy was 43. 
initiated by Kant's writings was for a long time cast superceded 
into the background, being superseded by the more *^o°- 
enticing and, as it seemed, more promising constructive 
movement of thought. The purely scientific position 
which starts from a definition and seeks for a criterion 
of knowledge was abandoned in the attempt to give 
expression to an actually existing higher kind of know- 
ledge, an ideal content, which was labouring into birth in 
the writings of the great representatives of German litera- 
ture, notably in the works of Herder and Goethe.^ Those 

^ In order to realise the new 
influence which was to make itself 
felt in the development of Kantian 
ideas, it is well to recall some facts 
and dates showing the great 
activity in the literary world dur- 
ing the decade which preceded the 
arrival of Reinhold at Weimar. 
Herder had published the most 
important and stirring of his theo- 
logical writings, having progressed 
from his early critical, through a 
poetical, to a deeper philosophical 
treatment of the religious problem. 
During the decade from 1774 to 
1784 he published, inter alia, the 
following Works : — 

*Vom Erkennen und Empfinden 
der Menschlichen Seele.' 

*Auch eine Philosophie der Ge- 

'Aelteste Urkunde des Men- 
schengeschlechts. ' 

' Provinzialblatter an Prediger.' 

' Erlauterungen zum Neuen Tes- 


' Theologische Brief e.' 

'Vom Geist der Ebraischen 

'Ideeu zur Philosophie der 
Lessing's 'Nathan der Weise' ap- 

peared in 1779 ; Wieland's 'Oberon,' 
1780; Burger's 'Lyrics,' 1781 to 
1785. Above all there towered the 
enormous productivity of Goethe, 
who had given to the world * Gotz 
von Berlichingen,' 'Prometheus,' 
' Werther's Leiden,' * Klavigo,' 
* Faust ' (first form privately circu- 
lated), 'Wilhelm Meister,' 'Iphi- 
genie.' Turning away from his 
earlier critical and lyrical writings, 
and liberating himself from the 
influence of the " storm and stress " 
literature, Goethe had assimilated 
the spirit of the Antique : through 
it and through a simultaneous 
study of nature and art during his 
journeys to the Harz, the Alps, 
and Italy, he rose to that unique 
conception of the world and life, 
and that philosophical calm which 
separated him for some time from 
Schiller, whose early stirring dra- 
matic works began to appear in 
the year that saw the publication 
of Kant's 'Critique.' To this we 
must add the renewed influence of 
Rousseau, whose 'Confessions' ap- 
peared after his death in 1778, and 
the still greater influence which 
the study of Spinoza exerted on 
all these thinkers. 



Who were inspired by this new world of ideas saw in it 
a definite something which strove for realisation and 
which only awaited a suitable form, the right word the 
adequate expression by which it should be rendered 
intelligible to the expectant and receptive minds of 
the younger generation; a possession not limited to a 
few creative intellects, but the common property o 
the many that came under the influence of the grea 
educational movement which was spreading over most 
of the countries and nations of Europe. In fact, the 
problem of knowledge was for them not contained m the 
questions. What is knowledge, and where and how is it 
to be found? They rather saw with their minds eye 
the existence of a higher kind of knowledge in the shape 
of definite ideals, and the problem of knowledge con- 
sisted in realising these ideals and finding a suitable 
expression for them. No one had uttered himself more 
clearly in these matters than Goethe himself, who at 
that time had already in many ways declared that the 
Highest reveals itself to the human mind only through 
intuition,-that it is not elaborated by thought but f^ 
and seen : he had in his own creations made it actually 
visible to the increasing number of his admirers. If some 
of the contemporaries of Kant, notably Hamann, Jacobi, 
and Herder, had contented themselves with emphasising 
the independence of feeling, belief, and faith, as the nUi- 
mat^ original sources of knowledge, Goethe succeeded 
through the wonderful intuitive powers of his mind m em- 
bodying in the poetical creations of his artistic genius what 
others only believed and felt, thus Bt^^^^g*™ ;;!; 
mously the constructive and creative movement of thought. 



These influences did not make themselves fully felt in 
the region of philosophical thought till ten years later. 
In the meantime a new element was imported into the 
philosophical and literary circles of Jena through the 
arrival of Eeinhold's successor, Fichte. He took up 
and proposed to fulfil the second task which, as I stated 
above, Eeinhold had set himself but had not successfully 
carried out — the unification of the Kantian doctrine. A 
great personality, a strong and unbending character, self- 
reliant in abstract thought as well as in action, he was 
the very man to bring out the moral power, as well as 
the ideal sides, of the Kantian system. 

He professed to understand Kant better than did his 
immediate followers, including Eeinhold.^ Nor was it 
difficult for him to find in the writings of Kant, 
especially in the two later Critiques,^ many valuable 
suggestions which would aid him in the accomplishment 

^ After having lectured for three 
years Fichte found it advisable to 
publish an authentic Introduction 
to his philosophy (1797) ; partly in 
order to correct certain misunder- 
standings, partly also to emphasise 
that his intention always had been 
to expound the true Kantian sys- 
tem. He remarks that Kant's 
intention to give to the philoso- 
phical thought of the age an 
entirely new direction had com- 
pletely failed. *'Kant is up to 
now, with the exception of one 
recently published suggestion, . . . 
a sealed book, and what has been 
read into it is just what is not 
adequate and what he desired to 
contradict. ... I have not to do 
^th the correction and extension 
of current philosophical views, but 
with the complete routing of them 
and an entire reversion of thought " 

(Fichte, 'Werke,' vol. i. p. 420). 
The one exception which Fichte 
refers to is the philosophy of Beck. 
2 After the publication of the 
first 'Critique' in 1781 Kant pub- 
lished in 1785 'Principles of the 
Metaphysics of Ethics'; in 1788 
his * Critique of Practical Reason ' ; 
and in 1790 his third 'Critique,' 
which was to give unity to the 
whole of his system, the ' Critique 
of Judgment.' Fichte published 
in the true Kantian spirit in 1791 
his Essay on 'Criticism of Reve- 
lation,' in which he applied Kant's 
principles to the religious prob- 
lem. This was followed by the last 
of Kant's important works, 'Reli- 
gion within the limits of Pure 
Reason ' (1793). It was in the year 
1794 that Fichte came to the Uni- 
versity of Jena. 


i iil 



• It 






of his task. But he also very soon became convinced 
that the Kantian scheme would require considerable 
modification in order to meet what he considered to be 
the demands of the age. What attracted Fichte most 
in Kant's philosophy was that Kant assigned to the 
practical reason or the moral principle in human nature 
the supremacy over the purely intellectual side. In 
this moral region were not only to be found the answers 
to the great fundamental questions, which the purely 
logical analysis was unable to give, but it also appeared 
that the " categorical imperative " or moral law was the 
greater, the only, reality with which man was able to 
confront the otherwise overwhelming and crushing 
reality of the external world. What in Kant's philo- 
sophy came at the end of a long and wearisome logical 
and dialectical process seemed to Fichte to be worthy 
of being elevated to the position of the initial and 
dominating principle of all speculation. This was the 
fact that the human mind was primarily not reflective 
and passive, but active and assertive. Action, self- 
assertion, comes before reflection ; a primary synthesis 
precedes the subsequent reflective analysis. The many 
opposites and dualities which played such an important 
part in the ' Critique of Pure Eeason,' such as sense and 
intellect, understanding and reason, form and content, 
cause and efifect, appearance and reality, the phenomenon 
and the noumenon (or the thing in itself), freedom and 
necessity,— all these appeared to Fichte to be mere 
abstractions which were made out of the original unity 
by the activity of the intellect or pure reason, apart from 
which they could not be understood. This unity itself 

indeed did not exist in the form of individual minds, but 
in that of the all-embracing mind or consciousness which 
formed the background of everything. To get hold of 
this the philosophical thinker had to retire into the 
recesses of his own mind and rise through a process of 
intellectual intuition. And that such was possible, and 
not only an interesting and poetical fiction, was made 
evident by the existence in every one of the prompting 
Will or active principle. This conception of an intel- 
lectual intuition,^ of an intuitive understanding, had 
already been suggested by Kant in the first, and more 
fully developed in the last, of his three Critiques, in 
which he had thrown out the idea of an intellect which 
was not merely discursive and analytical, but which was 
synthetic and intuitive. The existence of organised 
beings in nature, and of the creations of the poetic and 
artistic genius, proved, according to Kant, that sense 
and intellect, the world of external appearance and the 
world of reason (freedom), are not absolutely separate, 
but are rooted in an original synthesis or common 

Fichte has given several ex- 
planations of what he means by 
intellectual intuition. "This con- 
templation of his own self which 
we expect from the thinker, and 
through which he becomes aware 
of himself, I call intellectual in- 
tuition. It is the immediate con- 
sciousness that I act and what I 
am performing : it is that through 
which I know something, because 
I do it. That thefe exists such a 
faculty of intellectual intuition 
cannot be demonstrated nor de- 
veloped through reasoning. Every 
one must find it immediately in 
himself The demand that one 

should prove it through reasoning 
is much stranger than the desire of 
one born blind that one should 
explain to him what colour is with- 
out his being able to see it. . . . 
Every one who claims to be active 
appeals to this intuition. In it 
lies the source of life, and without 
it there is death. ... It is a 
remarkable thing in modern philo- 
sophy that it has not been perceived 
that what can be said against the 
existence of an intellectual intui- 
tion may also be said against sen- 
suous intuition [perception]" (vol. 
i. p. 463). 









Having once arrived at this conviction of an under- 
lying spiritual unity, the difficulty for Fichte was how 
to descend from it into the diversities and contradictions 
of the actual world which surrounds us, or philosophically 
to explain how it comes that that which is essentially 
and originally united should have unfolded itself in the 
world of many things, many persons, and many contra- 
dictions. This difficulty Fichte does not profess to solve : 
he merely interprets it. The existence of materiality, of 
the mechanical, of all that destroys the original umty 
and harmony, is for him just as much an immediate and 
inexplicable fact as is the conception of the spiritual 
and deeper unity. But of the two facts the latter is 
for us human beings the greater and more important, 
brought home to us continually by the necessity to act, 
to do something, and by the possibiUty of self-determin- 
ation according to some ethical principle or moral law. 

The attempts of Fichte to elaborate the logical and 

psychological details of his great conception must now 

be regarded as unfortunate, and indeed at the time 

they tended to bring discredit upon the whole of his 

philosophy, exposing it to much criticism, and even to 

ridicule ' His greatness lay, not in the direction ot 

logical analysis, but rather in the personal fervour with 

which he emphasised the principle of freedom and selt- 

determination according to high moral standards. He 

did this in an age when the sense of liberty was making 

itself felt everywhere among the rising generation. 

With them it was frequently apt to run not, and 

1 Fichte himseU complains o£ this in the above quoted Introduction of 
the year 1797. 




nothing was more wanted than the gospel of duty, of 
self-restraint, and the strong beUef in the existence 
of high and realisable ideals. 

Although Fichte called his philosophy " Wissen- 
sehaftslehre," a kind of theory of knowledge which 
was to precede the different doctrines m which 
special knowledge was communicated, we find little 
in his writings of those kinds of investigation which 
nowadays go under the name of Epistemology. Fichte s 
contributions to the problem of knowledge lay in a 
different direction ; » and though he found it necessary 

1 Though Fichte's writings are 
now little read, it is well to note 
that we find in them many tend- 
encies indicated which have been 
further developed in subsequent 
philosophical thought. Thus he 
suggested that only two systems 
of philosophy are conceivable, the 
materialistic and fatalistic on the 
one side, the idealistic on the 
other. This has been borne out m 
the history of subsequent thought. 
He terms the former dogmatic, 
whereas the latter is, following 
Kant, supposed to be critical. Not 
to decide which of the two to ac- 
cept is the attitude of scepticism. 
The decision or choice itself de- 
pends on the resolution of the 
character. We shall see in the 
sequel how this view is also that 
of Lotze. What is peculiar to 
Fichte is that he sees more clearly 
the logical difficulties which stand 
in the way of the materialistic 
hypothesis than those which stand 
in the way of the idealistic. This 
is largely owing to the fact that 
he stands quite outside of the 
exact and natural sciences which 
were making such great progress 
during his age. A further im- 
portant idea which has become 
fruitful in recent philosophy takes 

with Fichte the form of denying 
the existence of the "Thing m 
itself" which remained m Kants 
philosophy as a limiting concep- 
tion, a tribute to the common- 
sense way of looking at things. 
In modern philosophy this argu- 
ment has taken the form of a 
denial of the conception of sub- 
stance as a fundamental principle, 
and of replacing it by that of 
process. With Fichte the idea of 
substance, matter, or "Thing in 
itself" was in the course of the 
activity of the universal (hyper- 
individual) intellect or self pro- 
duced as a necessary conception. 
The intellect, or pure reason, was 
not merely the form, as with Kant, 
with which to comprehend the ma- 
terial content given by our senses ; 
it was not only the form but also 
the matter or content of know- 
ledge. Thus Kant's idea of what 
he termed the transcendental unity 
of apperception became with Fichte 
identical with Kant's fictitious in- 
tuitive understanding. The unity of 
apperception became identical with 
intellectual intuition. Further, 
with Fichte the problem of know- 
ledge received an extension ma 
direction indicated already by Leib- 
niz, and brought out in the clear- 

i ! 



1 ( 





in his later years to enter into more detailed logical 
and psychological discussions, the principal interest he 
took in it was to enforce by argument, as well as by 
the influence of his powerful personality, a conviction 
of the existence, for the human mind, of a definite 
and immediate source of certainty regarding the highest 
problems of conduct, action, and duty. In fact, he 
laboured perhaps more than any other thinker at the 
establishment of a philosophical creed that should 
be of practical value in the solution of the great 
problems which were then being ventilated on the 

est terms subsequently by Lotze. 
Knowledge does not deal only with 
an increasing number of purely 
empirical data, the things and 
events which surround us ; it does 
not, secondly, consist in addition 
only in certainty — that is, in the 
necessary connection or relation of 
things (laws physical and mental) ; 
but it consists, thirdly, also in a 
comprehension of the meaning of 
things, of their purpose, of the 
all-embracing system or order of 
the whole. Thus Knowledge is, 
first, descriptive, and as such con- 
tinually accumulating and extend- 
ing itself; secondly, constructive 
and synthetical, joining together to 
a necessary system ; and, thirdly, 
synoptic, viewing and interpreting 
the whole in a general scheme, re- 
vealing the meaning and purpose of 
things. And, lastly, we find two 
modern ideas foreshadowed already 
in Fichte's doctrine. The begin- 
ning of philosophy is not a logical 
principle which would require proof, 
and thus lead to an endless regres- 
sion of thought. The beginning of 
philosophy is a postulate : you must 
do something, you must act. The 
idea of action nvolves that of over- 
coming a resistance. In following 

out this train of thought, a meaning 
is assigned to the objects or tasks 
which present themselves to be 
solved ; ever reappearing in new 
forms, they constitute the activity 
of the intellect. Difference and 
opposition is always required to 
maintain action. The overcoming 
or solution of existing differences 
and difiBculties produces ever new 
and higher tasks. Logically this 
scheme is indicated by the formula 
of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis ; 
in Fichte's system we find the 
birth of the dialectical method 
practised and extolled later on by 
Hegel. Inasmuch, however, as 
Fichte is forced to throw back the 
whole of the active process of the 
intellect into a hyper - individual 
region, he leads the way to the 
world of the unconscious, out of 
which the difference of subject and 
object, of self and other selves, 
emerges in the minds of finite 
persons. The conscious activity of 
the conscious and moral self leads 
us back to the conception of an 
unconscious striving or instinct as 
the source and essence of all real- 
ity. This idea we also meet with 
under various forms in recent 



Continent : the problems of education raised in France 
by Kousseau, and practically worked out by Pestalozzi ; 
the problem of reason and faith raised by Kant and 
Jacobi; the problem of liberty raised by the French 
Eevolution; the problems of the reconstruction of the 
State and society which followed in the sequel of that 
great movement,^ and of the breaking down of all the 
old landmarks during the Napoleonic wars. He found 
a foundation whereon to build in Kant's doctrine of 
the primacy of practical over theoretical reason, and 
he filled in the seemingly empty forms or categories 
of Kantian morals by emphasising a higher spiritual 
reality. The existence of such a higher reality was ^^^^^ 
not merely a personal conviction of Fichte's; he only r^r^entj.^ 
saw, felt, and expressed more clearly and tried to g-r.tion. 
define what an ardent younger generation were striv- 
ing for, and what had found expression and become 
an active power in a new literature and a new 
poetry .2 In urging the necessity that all thought and 


^ The earliest of these problems 
was that raised simultaneously by 
Kant in his first 'Critique,' and 
by Jacobi in his publication, after 
Lessing's death, of his conversation 
with the latter on the philosophy 
of Spinoza. Jacobi himself treated 
of it in his subsequent writings, in 
which he took up an independent 
position to Spinoza, Kant, Hume, 
and, later on, to Fichte. The 
problem of education assumed a 
definite form and received a prac- 
tical and realistic treatment through 
Pestalozzi, who published the first 
of his popular Works in 1780, with 
a significant appeal to Goethe to 
identify himself with the new 
movement, just at the time when 
the latter was already, as 


shown in 'Wilhelm Meister,' mov- 
ing away from the purely classical 
to a more practical ideal of life. 
Fichte himself, before approaching 
theoretically the problem of know- 
ledge in his ' Wissenschaf tslehre,' 
had contributed to the solution of 
these various practical problems in 
his earlier writings on 'Revela- 
tion' (1792), on 'Freedom of 
Thought' (1793), on the 'French 
Revolution' (1793), and on the 
« Vocation of the Scholar ' (1794). 

2 Schiller had stirred the minds 
of the younger generation by a 
brilliant succession of poetical and 
dramatic productions; had been 
appointed to fill the Chair of 
History in the University of Jena 
(1787); had, under the influence 

* ll 




knowledge must be ultimately based upon the im- 
mediate evidence afforded by the senses, he did not 
limit the word sense to mean only the external or 
bodily senses, upon the evidence of which ordinary 
knowledge is based ; he extended its meaning 
to denote the existence of a higher sense which, 
though latent in every human mind, requires, 
nevertheless, to be nursed and educated so as to 
furnish the entrance into the region of spirituality 
and form the beginning of the higher life.^ And he 

of Herder and others, developed 
independent theories on historical, 
sesthetical, and educational sub- 
jects ; and had latterly, in prose 
and poetry, given a new turn to 
Kantian ideas on ethics and the 
vocation of art in the development 
of culture and society. Above all, 
there had appeared in the year 
1790 the first rendering of Goethe's 
greatest and immortal work ' Faust,' 
in which there occur the memor- 
able words: '"/m Anfang war die 
ThaC Kuno Fischer, with an 
equal knowledge of modern poetry 
and modern philosophy, was the 
first, in his ' History of Modern 
Philosophy' and in his smaller 
writings, to show the intimate 
connection which existed between 
the literary and the philosophical 
movement at Jena and Weimar at 
the end of the eighteenth and at 
the beginning of the nineteenth 
century. This interconnection, 
which nevertheless did not de- 
prive either of the two move- 
ments of their independent and 
original character, has been more 
fully traced by Prof. Windelband 
and also by recent biographers 
of Goethe, Herder, and others. 
Using a modem phrase, we may 
say that Fichte preached Prag- 
matism — but on a higher level than 

is done in America and England at 
this moment. 

^ More recent expositions of 
Fichte's philosophy and the de- 
velopment of his ideas have 
brought out clearly that he 
laboured up to the end of his 
comparatively short career (he died 
in 1814 from hospital fever 
which he, as well as his wife, 
caught whilst devoting themselves, 
during the War of Liberation, to 
the nursing of the sick and 
wounded) to give more precision 
to the fundamental conception 
from which he had started twenty 
years before. This view, estab- 
lished notably by Kuno Fischer 
and Windelband, contradicts to 
some extent an earlier conception 
which had its origin mainly in the 
polemic of Schelling, who tried to 
show that Fichte, under his in- 
fluence, had modified the char- 
acter of his speculation. There 
seems no doubt that Fichte him- 
self was aware that his funda- 
mental idea required clearer ex- 
position, a more thorough logical 
and psychological grounding ; but 
he refused to see that what was 
lacking in his own treatment had 
been at all supplied either by 
Schelling or by Hegel. His in- 
dependent attitude of thought is 



maintained that the certainties which this higher sense 
reveals to those who cultivate it depend just as much 
upon immediate evidence, upon intuition and insight, 
as all the truth of external reality depends ultimately 
upon the evidence of our external senses. By this 
doctrine of the immediate certainty afforded by the 
perceptions of our lower and higher senses, he repeated 
the truth which has been many times urged by the 
greatest thinkers, and many times forgotten by those 

brought out with much power in 
the last rendering of his ' Wissen- 
schaftslehre,' which is contained in 
the last course of lectures which 
he delivered at the University 
of Berlin in the year 1813, pub- 
lished posthumously by his son, 
J. H. Fichte, in the year 1834. 
The immediate source of all 
higher speculation is asserted 
there very distinctly : the fact 
that all knowledge is based upon i 
immediate conviction afforded by 
some lower or higher (physical or 
spiritual) sense. Starting with the 
declaration that neither Kant nor 
he himself had been correctly 
understood, he proceeds to state 
what he, in the beginning of his 
career, had represented as the 
cardinal point of his doctrine ; 
what haA not been quite clear to 
Kant ; and what, after a lengthy 
acquaintance with this attitude of 
thought, had become clear to him- 
self, viz., that "this doctrine pre- 
supposes an entirely new inner 
sense-organ through which a new 
world is opened out which does 
not exist for the ordinary human 
mind. This is not to be under- 
stood as an exaggeration or a 
rhetorical phrase thrown out only 
to claim so much more — with the 
secret reserve that so much less 
would be given, — but it is to be 

understood literally as follows : for 
human beings as they are through 
birth and ordinary education this 
doctrine is distinctly unintellig- 
ible ; the things of which it treats 
don't exist for them, because they 
have not got the sense through and 
for which these things exist. . . . 
They cannot understand it, they 
must misunderstand it. The first 
condition, therefore, is that the 
sense be created in them for which 
these things exist" (Fichte's 
' Nachgelassene Werke,' vol. i. p. 
4). He then goes on to explain 
by analogy with the physical 
senses the nature of this higher 
sense. It aims at a reformation 
of the whole man, a renewing and 
expansion of his whole existence 
out of a contracted into a wider 
circumference. He further ex- 
plains that this sense exists poten- 
tially, but must be drawn out or 
developed. That such a sense ex- 
ists is not a new doctrine : it has 
been used ever "since human be- 
ings existed, and what is great 
and excellent in the world and 
through which alone humanity is 
preserved comes from the visions 
of that sense. That such a sense 
exists is not new, but it has only 
been clearly seen in recent times," 
&c., &c. (ibid., p. 7). 








who do not penetrate to the fundamental questions. It is 
the doctrine with which Descartes started and with which 
Spinoza ended, — the reliance on the certainty afforded by 
intuition or vision, be this physical or intellectual. 

Still less did Schelling, Fichte's immediate successor 
and disciple, make any important contribution to what 
we nowadays call the theory of knowledge; but he 
laboured, as did Fichte, at imparting a definite kind of 
higher knowledge which he believed he possessed, with- 
out being able in the course of the many phases which 
his philosophy traversed to satisfy himself that he had 
found the right and adequate expression. There is no 
doubt that he saw the task of the philosopher in his 
ac^e to consist in the formation of a philosophical creed ; 
but whereas Mchte was essentially a strong character 
and a man of action who taught and inspired the youth 
of the nation, Schelling was more of an artist and a poet. 
Addicted to symbolical expressions and to reasoning by 
analogies, he possessed a finer insight into the workings 
of the poetical genius and the mind of the artist. This 
led to, and was sustained by, his intimacy with Goethe ; 
in fact, he seems to have been the only one among the 
great philosophers of the idealistic school for whom 
Goethe preserved a lasting interest and appreciation. 
Some of his deliverances embody, as it were, a few of 
Goethe's favourite ideas.^ Thus he occupied a position 

1 One example instead of many 
may suffice. It shows the ab- 
stract form which Schelling gave 
to such ideas, and his assimilation 
and appreciation of the latest 
philosophy in Goethe's poetical 
creations. It refers, as Kuno 
Fischer has pointed out, to Goethe's 

* Faust' in its earliest rendering. 
"As in consequence of their 
common origin, the inner nature 
of all things must be one, and as 
this may be seen to be necessary, so 
likewise this necessity lives in any 
construction which is founded 
thereon. Such, therefore, does not 



Want of 


to the philosophical problem of the age entirely unlike 
that of his master, from whom he separated when it 
became evident that the philosophy of the latter had 
but little love of nature. 

One of the reasons which prevented the great thinkers 
with whom I am now dealing from contributing anything criticism 

ciUvX cJLctCu 

appreciable, beyond occasional brilliant suggestions, to a 
truly scientific theory of knowledge, was that they pos- 
sessed neither the critical spirit of Kant nor the sceptical 
spirit of Hume, and that they had not, what Kant pos- 
sessed, a personal acquaintance with what we now call 
exact or mathematical knowledge. One of the prevalent 
notes of their teaching was indeed the endeavour to coun- 
teract the scepticism of Hume and Voltaire, and the 
sceptical consequences of Kant's criticism; and further, 

require to be confirmed by experi- 
ence, but is sufficient of itself, and 
can he continued beyond the limits 
which experience cannot transcend, 
as, for instance, into the innermost 
mechanism of organic life and of 
universal motion. Fate does not 
exist only for action ; Knowledge 
also is confronted by the essence of 
the totality of nature as an un- 
conditional necessity ; and if, ac- 
cording to the dictum of an ancient 
thinker, the strong man in conflict 
with circumstances is a drama 
on which even the gods look 
with pleasure, so likewise the 
struggle of the mind for a sight of 
the real nature and the eternal 
essence of the phenomenal is a not 
less inspiring spectacle. As in the 
tragedy, the conflict is not solved 
by the downfall of either necessity 
or freedom, but only through 
elevating each to a complete equal- 
ity with the other; so also the 
mind can only step victoriously out 

of its conflict with nature in so far 
as nature becomes identical with 
mind and transfigured in the ideal. 
To this conflict, which arises 
through an unsatisfied longing for 
a knowledge of things, the poet has 
attached his creations in the most 
characteristic poem of Germany, 
and opened an ever fresh source of 
enthusiasm which alone was suffi- 
cient to rejuvenate science in this 
age, and to throw over it the 
breath of a new life. Whoever 
desires to penetrate into the sacred 
interior of nature may nourish 
himself with these tunes out of a 
higher world, and imbibe in early 
youth the power which emanates, 
as it were, in solid rays of light 
from this poem and moves the 
innermost centre of the world " 
(Schelling, *Werke,' sec. i., vol. v. 
p. 325, &c. ; Kuno Fischer, * Ge- 
schichte der Neueren Philosophie,' 
vol. vi. (1872) p. 836). 





to impress upon the minds of their hearers and readers 
the existence of a higher, more unified, and more spiritual 
knowledge than that which the separate sciences afforded. 
With the conviction that such a higher field of mental 
activity really exists, and is within the reach of the 
human intellect, they started on their way. We must 
remember that they were neither surrounded by growmg 
material prosperity and industrial enterprise, to which 
contemporary thinkers in this country might direct their 
attention, nor had they grown up in the midst of the 
great achievements which the exact scientific spirit could 
boast of in France at the end of the eighteenth century. 
Industrial progress and economic wealth were just as 
much wanting in Germany at that time as was the 
correct appreciation of the exact methods of research, 
notably of applied mathematics. The only thinkers of 
importance who were acquainted with what we nowadays 
look upon as exact knowledge were Fries and, somewhat 
later, Herbart. Both these thinkers stood, however, too 
much outside of the interests and aspirations which 
then guided German literature and German thought to 
earn speedily from their contemporaries the recognition 
which they deserved. No better example exists of the 
defects as well as the peculiar kind of inspiration which 
characterises the more impressive deliverances of the 
idealistic school, than the introduction to the series of 
lectures which Schelling delivered at Jena in 1802 "On 
the method of academic study." Without leading up to 
the elevated position which he desires to occupy, he at 
once propounds the idea of an unconditional and unified 
knowledge, and he bases this on the conviction that the 



truly ideal is alone the truly real. He admits that even 
in philosophy this essential unity cannot be strictly proved, 
as it rather furnishes the entrance to all that can be called 
science,^ — the only possible proof consisting in this, that 
what claims to be science aims just at realising this 
identity, at merging the real in the ideal, and vi4;e versd 
at converting the ideal into reality. Such announce- 
ments, which to us nowadays sound oracular and 
rhetorical, would no doubt have had only a passing and 
deterrent effect had the majority of German students 
been aiming (as they do nowadays) at becoming scientific, 
professional, or industrial experts. To such, in however 
noble a light their vocation might present itself, it would 
soon have become evident that this doctrine of the Immed- 
iate and of the Identity of the ideal and the real did not 
condescend to indicate the practical ways and means of 
research. They would have sooner or later turned away 

^ "The appropriate training for 
a special profession must be pre- 
ceded by a knowledge of the organic 
whole of science. He who wishes 
to devote himself to a special 
pursuit must know the place which 
it occupies in the whole and the 
special spirit which enlivens it, as 
also the kind of culture through 
which it fits into the harmonious 
structure of the whole ; the way 
also by which he has to approach his 
science, that he may not be a slave 
but free to move in the spirit of 
the whole. It will therefore be 
seen that an academic study can 
only proceed out of a genuine in- 
sight into the living connection of 
all sciences, that without it every 
precept would be dead, soulless, 
and narrow. But perhaps this 
demand has never been more press- 
ing than in the present age when 


: everything in science and art seems 

more strongly to aim at unity, 

I when even things most distant 

i come into contact, when every 

movement which takes place in 

the centre spreads more immedi- 

* ately into the different parts, and 

I when a new or^an of intuitioi Lia- 

I pv ^bp^ ^Tfi'^^-^ Such 

j an age cannot pass without the 

1 birth of a new world which leaves 

those who have no part in it buried 

in nothingness. It must be left 

mainly to the fresh and unspoiled 

powers of a youthful generation to 

preserve and develop this noble 

endeavour, &c., &c. . . . No one 

is excluded from co-operating. . . . 

He must contemplate his science 

as an organic member and recognise 

in advance its task in this new-born 


2 A 



1 t 

I ( 




from it. Illustrious examples of this kind are to be 
found, e.g., in J. von Liebig, Johannes MuUer, E. von Baer,^ 
G. T. Fechner,^ who nevertheless in their further develop- 
ment retained a large share of the idealistic spirit. 
Fortunately, however, for the idealistic school, it could 
count on the support of two movements which were 
then much more prominent in Germany than the culture 
of the exact sciences, whose only great popular exponent 
and later patron, A. von Humboldt, was then travelhng 
in the tropical regions of the New World.^ These two 

1 See vol. i. of this History 
passim, especially pp. 207, 208. 

2 The influence of Schelling upon 
Fechner is important and probably 
typical. It is described by Fechner 
himself in a characteristic passage 
quoted by J. E. Kuntze (*G. T. 
Fechner,' 1892). "Through my 
medical studies I had become a 
complete atheist, alienated from 
religious ideas ; I saw in the world 
only a mechanical scheme. At 
that time I came across j3 kgn's 
* NatuipkU.ospphie,' which I Degan 
to read with a friend. A new light 
seemed to me all at once to illumin- 
ate the whole world and the science 
of the world. I was as if dazzled by 
it. In truth I did not really under- 
stan d any thin g properly —ho w could 
that have been possible ? — and I did 
not advance beyond the first chap- 
ters ; but, in effect, I had at once 
gained the position for a grand 
united view of the world, began 
to study Schelling, Steffens, and 
other philosophers of nature, failed 
indeed to find in any of them clear- 
ness, but thought I could myself 
do something in that direction, of 
which some Essays in *Stapelia 
Mixta ' (1824) bear testimony. But 
even now I remember that I once 
put to myself the question : Could 
anything, by the ways of Oken- 

Schelling, have been found of the 
beautiful and orderly connection of 
optical phenomena which Biot lays 
before us with such clearness? 
Certainly natural science does not 
lie in these ways. . . . The influ- 
ence of that period in the direction 
of a uniting activity and a spiritual 
penetration of nature has remained 
for me and has found expression 
in later writings, although I could 
then no longer consider the view of 
Schelling - Oken to be adequate" 
(pp. 39,40). 

3 There lived in Germany at that 
time, at the University of Gotting- 
en, another prominent representa- 
tive of the genuine scientific spirit, 
the great mathematician, C. F. 
Gauss. Although, however, he had 
already published in 1801 his most 
original work, * Disquisitiones 
ArithmeticsB ' (see vol. i. of this 
History, p. 120), he was practically 
unknown to German scholars and 
thinkers. Not a great teacher, 
he belonged to the small in- 
ternational society of foremost 
mathematicians and astronomers 
of the age, for many of whom 
his labours furnished the starting- 
point of entirely new developments. 
His 'Theoria motus corporum 
coelestium ' was published in 1809 
(see ibid., p. 324). 




movements were, as I have had occasion to point out 
before, the higher educational movement and the growth 
of the critical spirit in literature, art, history, and 
theology. Tor both of these movements the ideal aims, 
though vague, were nevertheless of inestimable value: 
indeed history has shown that both these movements 
have fallen to a lower level in proportion as these 
ideal aims have lost their meaning and their hold 
upon them. 

But also within the idealistic school itself the want 
was felt of a distinct method by which the begin- 
ner could be gradually introduced into the region of 
philosophical thought. There must be some way of 
leading up from the position of common -sense and 
ordinary reasoning to the heights of speculation. There 
was wanted what the ancients called a special dialectic 
which should traverse the different stages of the intel- 
lectual process, leading the mind on from lower to higher, 
from familiar and concrete to larger and more «,festmet a4^^^ 
conceptions. The great work which was dictated by a feel- 
ing that this was the desideratum of the age, and which 
had for its aim to exhibit this gradual rise of the philo- 
sophic mind to the heights of speculation and the estab- 
lishment of a comprehensive philosophic creed, was Hegel's Hegef * 
* Phenomenology of Mind.' ^ 

^ The * Phenomenology of Mind ' 
may be studied from various points 
of view, and the important position 
which the work occupies in the 
history of Thought becomes evident 
as we realise how many difierent 
Bides and interests it represents. 
It may be considered as a logical 
development of the main idea which 
governed the philosophical and 

' li 


This work appeared in 1807. lUlST^ 

poetical thought of the age, and 
which was most clearly expressed 
in advance by Spinoza when he 
identified the order which prevails 
in things with the order which 
prevails in our thoughts about 
things. The philosophy of Spinoza 
introduced to the age by Lessing, 
Jacobi, and Herder came as a wel- 
come and inspiring solution of the 



In the preface Hegel breaks with what he calls the 
philosophy of reflection, and proposes to bring into con- 
nection the different elements of thought and the different 
philosophic positions which, in the critical philosophy 
and in the systems of Fichte and Schelling, had remained 
disconnected, as it were improvised at random, forming 
postulates in the former, and, in the latter, solutions * 

dualism which had been created as 
the result of the Kantian doctrine 
that no proof existed that the 
human intellect (the . order of 
thought) was identical with, or an 
expression of reality (the order of 
things). To realise this solution 
Fichte had clothed the Spinozistic 
conception in that of a moral order 
or fundamental activity of mind. 
Schelling, inspired by Goethe, had 
proclaimed that the union of the 
ideal and real lies beyond nature 
and mind, and is exemplified to 
us in arjisticcreationj whereas 
Schleiermacher7~about the same 
time, maintained that this union 
existed only in religious-^Jeeliag. 
These three thinEers drew their 
philosophical inspiration equally 
from Spinoza and Kant, for the 
latter had exalted the moral law 
as the supreme reality, had sug- 
gested the unifying power of intui- 
tion, and had cleared the way for 
religious faith. One step more was 
required, and this was to give a 
scientific or logical expression, not 
only to the reasoning of the human 
mind, but also to the fundamental 
unity proclaimed in these various 
forms under the name of the 
Absolute. The method was to 
be a scientific process, and the 
Absolute was to be conceived as 
a subject or a spirit. This task 
was what the * Phenomenology ' pro- 
fessed to perform. Hegel had pre- 

pared the way in his earlier writ- 
ings contained in the philosophical 
journal which he edited together 
with Schelling. Another point of 
view from which this work may be 
considered is that it is an attempt to 
show how, in the historical develop- 
ment of thought from the dawn of 
philosophy in the ancient world, 
that comprehension or definition 
of the Absolute was gradually 
matured which constituted the cen- 
tral conviction in the philosophical 
creed of the age ; the timeless sub- 
stance of Spinoza was to become a 
living process, the moving spirit 
in science and art as much as 
in religion and life. Again, we 
may see in the 'Phenomenology,' 
to a large extent, a personal his- 
tory of Hegel's own mental develop- 
ment as it has become better known 
through the labours of Dilthey and 
others (see supra, p. 250, note). And 
lastly, we may regard the 'Phe- 
nomenology ' as a programme, defin- 
ing the highest intellectual task 
of subsequent thought, and giving 
the first sketch of a triumphant 
solution, to be followed by more 
detailed exposition. As such a 
programme, it has lived— perhaps 
unconsciously — in many histori- 
cal and many critical labours 
since Hegel in Germany. It has 
been explicitly adopted by a 
modern school of thinkers in this 



gained by intellectual intuition, i.e., by a kind of in- 
spiration which not infrequently degenerated into guess- 

In the conventional histories of philosophy, the ex- 
position of Hegel's method and doctrine follows immedi- 
ately and naturally after the exposition of the systems of 
Fichte and Schelling; but for our purposes, since we are at 
present interested in the problem of knowledge, we must 
desist for the moment from entering into an exposition 
of Hegers ideas, and this for the following reason. It is 
quite true that Hegel's philosophy is much occupied with 
the question of knowledge, but it does not contain what 
we nowadays call a theory of knowledge. If it solves 
the problem of knowledge at all, it solves it not by an 
analysis of existing knowledge, but by unfolding the new 
and higher kind of knowledge compared with which the 
actually existing knowledge was not considered to be 
real knowledge at all, but only a lower stage of merely 
apparent or preliminary knowledge. Desiring to estab- 
lish a philosophical creed, a reasoned and consistent 
view of life and its great questions, Hegel, as little 
as his predecessors Fichte and Schelling, considered it 
worth while to spend much time and labour in analys- 
ing such forms of existing knowledge as had proved 
themselves incapable of meeting the wants of the age, 
i.e., of solving the great practical questions. In fact, the 

^ The most lucid exposition of 
Hegel's relation to the philosophy 
of his predecessors, and of their 
merits and defects, is to be found in 
the latter part of his posthumous- 
ly published lectures on 'History 

of Philosophy' (see *Werke,' vol. 
XV. p. 534 to end). This course 
he delivered — as the editor, K. L. 
Michelet, tells us in the Preface — 
ten times during the last twenty- 
five years of his life. 


,^* \^itmaiiGm^^tmit$t^tam,i9^\t 





interest of these thinkers lay more in replying to the 
question, What is the truly real ? ^ than in solving the 
critical problems which Kant had put forward in his 
writings : they desired to solve the problem of reality 
rather than the problem of knowledge. Accordingly I 
propose to relegate the exposition of the more system- 
atic views of these thinkers to other chapters, where we • 
shall deal with the problem of reality and other related 
problems which again and again present themselves to 
the philosophical mind. At present we must look for 
the beginnings of the modern theory of knowledge in a 
dififerent direction. 


49. In spite of the small interest that J. S. Mill's 

T S Mill's 

logic. * System of Logic ' aroused in philosophical circles in 

Germany,^ it is nevertheless true that what is now 

^ " With Schelling the speculative 
form has been re-established, and 
philosophy has become again some- 
thing specific ; the principle of 
philosophy, thought in itself, rea- 
soned thought, has again received 
the true form of thought. Thus in 
Schelling's philosophy the content, 
truth, has again become the prin- 
cipal object, whereas in the Kantian 
philosophy interest attached main- 
ly to this, that knowledge, under- 
standing, subjective reasoning, were 
to be examined : it appeared plaus- 
ible, first, to investigate the in- 
strument, the process of reasoning. 
It is the story of the axo\aariK65 
who would not go into the water 
before he could swim. To examine 
the reasoning process means, to 

reason about reasoning, but how 
we can reason without reasoning 
cannot be stated " (Hegel, ' Werke,' 
vol. XV. p. 657). 

'•^ It was owing to the influence 
of Liebig, who probably came 
across Mill's writings during his 
repeated visits to England in the 
'Forties, that the * System of Logic,' 
which appeared in 1843, was trans- 
lated into German by J. Schiel 
(1849), and published by the firm 
of Vieweg in Brunswick, who for a 
considerable period brought out the 
principal scientific works in physics, 
chemistry, and the natural sciences. 
It does not appear to have had any 
influence on philosophical thought 
till much later, when the same 
subject — viz., the foundations and 

termed Erhenntnisstheorie in Germany, and Epistemology 
in this country, is for the first time distinctly put forth 
in that work. It was prepared by the Baconian philo- 
sophy, the traditions of which, through Locke, Berkeley, 
and Hume, were inherited by the Scottish school, whose 
principal exponent in the first quarter of the century was 
Dugald Stewart. All these thinkers were impressed by 
the existence and growing volume of a definite kind of 
knowledge termed natural knowledge. This knowledge 
existed before an attempt was made to analyse it logic- 
ally and understand it philosophically as a mental phe- 
nomenon. A serious attempt to do so was made by a 
group of thinkers who about the year 1830 marked the 
new era of mathematical science in England. Most of 

. . I 

5 . :l 


method of scientific reasoning and 
research — had been taken up in- 
dependently by German natural- 
ists, among whom Prof. Wu ndt o f 
Leipzig stands foremost7'~Wundt 
approached the problem of know- 
ledge primarily from the side of the 
physiology of sense-perception, to 
which he added an original examina- 
tion of the " axioms of the physical 
sciences and their relation to the 
principle of causality " (1866). 
Coming twenty - five years after 
Mill, when the exact and mathe- 
matical methods of research had, 
by him and others, been introduced 
and successfully applied in many 
fresh fields of natural science, he 
was able to approach the theory 
of knowledge with a much greater 
command of existing material and 
a better personal acquaintance than 
Mill possessed. It is interesting to 
note what Prof^_Wufi£Lt- himself 

^^y^ J?Ka?<^ing..M3i If^ the his- 

torian of science in the nineteenth 
century should wish to name the 
philosophical works which during 

and shortly after the middle of the 
century had the greatest influence, 
he will certainly have to place 
Mill's ' Logic ' in the first rank. 
This only slightly original work has 
hardly had any important influence 
on the development of philosophy. 
It was first recommended by Liebig 
to the German scientific world, 
which at that time possessed few 
philosophical interests, and was 
frequently consulted when philo- 
sophical questions had perforce to 
be considered. Thus also thelabours 
in the * physiology of the senses ' of 
Helmholtz . . . moved decidedly 
under the sign of Mill's ' Logic' " 
Wundt then goes on to explain 
that it was not the association- 
psychology of Mill, but the Logic 
proper and the theory of the 
syllogism and of induction, that 
ly-'oir^^eir psychological truth or 
importance. (See W. Wundt in 
Windelband, * Die Philosophic im 
Beginn des zwanzigsten Jahr- 
hunderts,' vol. i. p. 28, &c.) 


• ■> 






these, such as Sir John Herschel, William Whewell, 
George Peacock, A. de Morgan, belonged to the Cam- 
bridge school: they not only aimed at enlarging and 
deepening the mathematical sciences by introducing the 
French methods, but they also strove to understand more 
clearly the logical foundations of the mathematical or 
exact sciences. They felt the necessity of rewriting the 
Novum Organnm of Bacon. Each of them worked in an 
independent way at the same task. Herschel published 
in 1831 his "Preliminary Discourse on the Study of 
Natural Philosophy," where in a number of examples he 
showed how the generalisations and discoveries of science 
were actually arrived at. William Whewell published 
in 1837 his "History of the Inductive Sciences" as 
Prolegomena to a " Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences 
founded upon their History" (1840). Peacock was one 
of the first who expounded the logical premises of general 
arithmetic. De Morgan's publications begin in the year 
1831 with an essay "On the Study and Difficulties of 
Mathematics," which was followed by a series of writings 
dealing with the borderland of Logic and Mathematics, 
such as his essay "On Probabilities" (1838) and his 
"Logic" (1839). Some of these writings helped to 
stimulate Mill to the composition of his Logic, the first 
edition of which appeared in 1843. But there were two 
other influences which combined to give to Mill's work 
its representative character, both of which came from 
his father, James Mill. The first was the Association- 
psychology to which I referred in the last chapter ; the 
other was the strong political bias which Mill inherited 
from his father, as well as from his father's friend, 


Jeremy Bentham. This was strengthened by his early 
acquaintance with the political philosophers of France, 
notably those of the school of St Simon. Mill's ac- 
quaintance with Comte began before the publication of 
the Logic, but belongs mainly to a later date. Mill's 
Logic was the first systematic attempt in the direction of 
a theory of knowledge, and it starts by referring to " the 
modes of investigating truth and estimating evidence, by 
which so many important and recondite laws of nature 
have in the various sciences been aggregated to the stock 
of human knowledge." It is not likely that Mill had 
at that time any knowledge at first hand of Kant's 
' Critique of Pure Eeason.' Nevertheless it is significant 50. 


to note how both he and Kant take for granted the common to 

Mill and 

existence of a body of correct knowledge as it is con- ^ant. 
tained in the mathematical and natural sciences. But 
he at once separates himself by indicating as the 
final aim of his book "to contribute towards the 
solution of a question which the decay of old opinions 
and the agitation that disturbs European society . . . 
renders as important ... to the practical interest of 
human life as it must be to the completeness of our 
speculative knowledge — viz., . . . how far the methods 
by which so many of the laws of the physical world have 
been numbered among truths irrevocably acquired and 
universally assented to can be made instrumental to the 
formation of a similar body of received doctrine in moral 
and political science." It is evident from this that Mill 
did not take, with regard to the problems of practical 
life, the same view as Kant and his successors, notably 
Pichte — viz., that the certainty in such matters starts 







from a different and opposite pole to that from which 
natural knowledge takes its beginning. 

It must, however, be admitted that in the course of 
his philosophical writings Mill came more or less ex- 
plicitly to admit the existence of a something, of a 
mental factor, which could not be found and definitely 
traced by the process of analysis which he practised. 
And this admission dates from an early period in his 
life when he already, in opposition to his father, recog- 
nised the importance of Coleridge's influence, when he felt 
the power of Carlyle's oracular sayings, and when he was 
himself coming under the spell of Wordsworth's poetry. 
Regarding this hidden factor in mental life he nowhere 
expressed himself with sufficient clearness, though he 
rejected all the various attempts by contemporary 
English or foreign thinkers to define or locate it in 
a comprehensive philosophical creed. But there is no 
doubt that we find foreshadowed in Mill's writings the 
conception of the Unknowable which plays such an im- 
portant part in later English philosophy. At present 
it is important for us to remark that we find in Mill 
something analogous to that position which, on a much 
larger scale, existed a generation earlier in German 
philosophy. As I have mentioned before, the construc- 
tive efforts of German speculation after Kant, the dog- 
matic assertion of a higher insight, which in single 
instances rose to a kind of inspiration, was derived from 
the regions of poetical, or creative, thought as it mani- 
fested itself in the great classical literature of the age. 
Similarly the poetical creations of the new school of 
poetry in England, notably of Wordsworth and Cole- 



ridge, the revelations of which were brought together 
by Carlyle, with cognate elements which Coleridge and 
he discovered in German literature, produced in the 
mind of Mill the impression of an actual reality, and 
elicited from him, in spite of his cautious and un- 
impassioned habit of mind, some very remarkable 

Next to Mill and to those writers named above, all 
of whom continued the tradition of the Baconian philo- Hamiiton. 
sophy, the thinker in this country who at that time 
laboured most effectually at the problem of knowledge 
was Sir William Hamilton ^ of Edinburgh. His writ- 



^ In point of time it would per- 
haps be more correct to say that 
the theory of knowledge in this 
■country was first distinctly put 
forward as a special investigation 
iind the problem of knowledge 
solved in a definite form by Sir 
Wm. Hamilton in a series of 
brilliant articles communicated to 
the ' Edinburgh Review ' from 1829 
to 1839. But the fact that they 
appeared anonymously and were 
more critical than systematic, also 
that they created what may be 
called a new style in the philo- 
sophical literature of this country, 
prevented their due appreciation 
till much later, when Hamilton 
exerted a great personal influence 
on Scottish and English thought 
through his (posthumously pub- 
lished) Lectures on 'Logic' and 
' Metaphysics ' at the University of 
Edinburgh from 1836 to 1856. The 
late Prof. Veitch of Glasgow defines 
Hamilton's conception of the philoso- 
phical problem as follows : " Science 
is knowledge — a form of knowledge. 
Whence knowledge in this form ? 
If we seek a cause of the fact of 
experience, we may, nay must, 
•equally ask for a cause of our know- 

ing the fact. Knowledge has its 
cause or source in what we call 
mind, and it is possible only under 
certain conditions. The primary 
problem of philosophy is thus to 
investigate the nature and necessary 
conditions of knowledge, — the con- 
ditions of its own possibility. What 
is knowledge? and what are the 
laws of knowledge ? Such is 
Hamilton's conception of the prob- 
lem of philosophy proper. Keeping 
this in view, we can see how the 
philosophy of Hamilton rises to its 
highest question — that of the 
nature of our knowledge of the 
absolutely first or of the uncondi- 
tioned. The line of causality in 
finite things leads backwards and 
upwards to the problem of an 
ultimate or primary cause, and we 
have the points — is this a necessity 
of inference ? is it an object of 
knowledge ? in what sense is it an 
object of faith ? " (Veitch, ' Hamil- 
ton ' in " Blackwood's Philosophical 
Classics," 1882, p. 36, &c.) 

As to Hamilton's philosophical 
antecedents Veitch says: "Even 
in his youth he had gone far beyond 
the range of reading in philosophy 
then usual in Scotland. He had 






ings, most of which appeared anonymously in the 
'Edinburgh Eeview/ date somewhat further back than 
those of the Cambridge mathematicians, and formed in a 
certain sense an opposition to the arguments employed 
by what we may call the empirical school. At the 
same time Hamilton's philosophy worked quite as 
effectively in the direction of generating the agnostic 
attitude of the succeeding period. Hamilton was as 
much influenced by Keid's original refutation of Hume 
as he was by Kant's ' Critique.' He believed quite as 
strongly in the truthfulness of our sensuous experience as 
he did in the relativity of all that we may call know- 
ledge. To this latter doctrine he gave the name of 
the Doctrine of the Conditioned, maintaining that all 
that deserves the name of knowledge cannot rid itself 
of its inherent conditional character. To possess know- 
ledc^e meant, for him, to move in the region of the 

studied the ' Organon ' of Aristotle, 
and had acquired a mastery of it 
at an early age, rarely paralleled 
at the close of the long and labori- 
ous efforts of a lifetime. Even at 
Oxford he knew it better than all 
the tutors. He was familiar with 
the principal schoolmen. . . . Des- 
cartes and the Cartesian school had 
been matter of minute investi- 
gation ; and from Descartes he 
gathered the ultimate principle in 
his theory of knowledge, viz., the 
subversion of doubt in the fact of 
consciousness. He had meistered 
German at a time when few people 
in the country knew anything 
about its literature or philosophy. 
He had given a quite competent 
attention to the ' Critique ' and to 
the logical writings of Kant. He 
had traced the course of subsequent 
German speculation through Fichte, 
Schelling, and Hegel, as his un- 

published notanda especially show. 
The influence of Kant both upon 
the cast of his thought and his 
philosophical phraseology is marked 
enough. In point of positive doc- 
trine, however, the two men in Ger- 
many he most nearly approached 
were Jacobi and G. E. Schultze. 
. . . When he made his first pub- 
lished contribution to philosophy, 
in the Essay on 'Cousin' in the 
'Edinburgh Review' of October 
1829, the first impression, even 
among people who professed some 
philosophical knowledge, was that 
of astonished bewilderment rather 
than admiration or even apprecia- 
tion. The Essay on ' Cousin ' dealt 
with a question regarding the 
reach and limits of human know- 
ledge which was wholly new, in 
form at least, to British specula- 
tion" (ibid., p. 26). 

Conditioned. The Unconditioned, though it exists, is not 
an object of knowledge, not even to the extent that 
Kant conceived it to be— viz., as a limiting idea and 
regulative principle. To accept it as such is, in Hamil- 
ton's opinion, the great error of the Kantian philosophy, 
which opened the door to the vagaries of Kant's suc- 
cessors, who attempted to superimpose upon the ex- 
isting knowledge of the Conditioned — i.e., upon the 
only knowledge that is possible — a higher kind of 
knowledge, the knowledge of the Unconditioned or 
Absolute. Hamilton's criticisms are directed as much 
against Schelling and Hegel and their pupil Victor 
'Cousin'i^" France, as against that philosophy in England 
which starts from the knowledge we possess in the 
mathematical and physical sciences, and aims at penetrat- 
ing by their methods into the region of mental and 
moral phenomena, as Mill hoped to do. For, according 
to Hamilton, our moral ideas are based upon the Un- 
conditioned, which we approach only by faith, and upon 
the idea of freedom, through which the human being is 
elevated beyond the laws of a purely natural order. 

On a larger scale than Sir John Herschel had at- 
tempted in England, an exposition of the leading ideas 
and methods of the exact and natural sciences was 
attempted about the same time by Auguste Cdmte in 
France. In many respects the influences which 
governed the early development of Comte's mind were 
similar to those which made themselves felt in the case 
of John Stuart Mill. Both had a precocious develop- 
ment; the ideas attained in childhood, which in the 
case of most, even of the great, thinkers are characterised 

A. Comte. 


! f 






by vagueness, seemed to have acquired, both with Mill 
and Comte, definite forms at an unusually early age. 
Both also took at this early age a lively interest in 
social questions. But whereas for Mill the private and 
personal influence of his father ruled supreme and 
fixed permanently some of his mental characteristics, the 
great school for Comte was the £cole Polytechnique in 
Paris. According to his own statement,^ in a letter to 

1 The letter to Mill is dated 
22nd July 1842 ; to the same year 
belongs also the publication of the 
sixth and last volume of the ' Cours 
de Philosophie Positive.' This con- 
tains an elaborate preface occupied 
mostly with personal explanations. 
Comte there complains of the want 
of support and appreciation of his 
philosophical labours on the part 
of the members of the govern- 
ing body of the Ecole Poly- 
technique. To this he attributes 
his failure to gain a professor- 
ship, his connection having been 
limited to that of an entrance 
examiner. A reactionary spirit 
very different from that which 
governed the earlier period, when 
in 1814 Comte had entered the 
school, had, after a crisis in 1816, 
gradually supervened in the direction 
of the establishment. This change 
corresponds in time with the change 
which took place in Comte's own 
ideas, when, in the course of the 
composition of his great work, he 
came to deal with the biological 
and political sciences. He recog- 
nised more and more, what he 
had already indicated in an earlier 
tract (see above, p. 193, note), that 
the purely mathematical spirit, the 
analytical method, or, as he called 
it, the esprit de detail, must as we 
ascend in the sciences be supplanted 
or compensated by the esprit d'en- 
semble. This development of his 
own opinions, to which he gave 

full expression in the 57th chapter 
of the 'Cours,' is significant, and 
was accompanied by his personal 
experience of the disproportionate 
encouragement which the mathe- 
matical or analytic spirit enjoyed 
at the expense of what we may now 
term the synoptic spirit. He had 
at one time hoped to introduce 
what he termed la vraie spirituality 
modeme, through Guizot, whom he 
reluctantly approached with a pro- 
posal of founding, at the College de 
France, a Chair devoted directly to 
the general history of the positive 
sciences. But the want of sym- 
pathy which Guizot himself ex- 
hibited towards the purely mathe- 
matical tendencies resulted finally 
not in a support of the philosophie 
positive, but in the ** dangerous re- 
storation of an academy happily 
suppressed by Bonaparte." This 
was the restoration of the *'Aca- 
demie de Science Morale " referred 
to in vol. i. p. 145 of this History. 
"It is necessary," Comte says, 
"carefully to distinguish the two 
schools which, spontaneously an- 
tagonistic, divide between them- 
selves, though so far very unequally, 
the"! general rule of rational posi- 
tivism : the mathematical school, 
properly so called, still dominating 
without serious contention the 
whole of the inorganic studies, and 
the biological school, striving feebly 
at present to maintain, against the 
irrational ascendancy of the former, 

Mill, he found in the studies and the methods which 
were pursued in that great educational establishment 
the first beginning of a true scientific corporation. 
There he also met with the republican spirit among 
the pupils, and an enthusiasm for the practical value of 
the studies which united them. These studies embraced 
mainly what we now call the exact sciences. The fore- 
most representatives of this large and novel region of 
knowledge, the founders of new sciences, were the 
teachers of that institution. It is no wonder that this 
great body of knowledge came to Comte as a kind of 
revelation, and that the methods which it employed 
fastened themselves on his mind as models of the highest 
form of thought. In opposition to the vagueness of the 
popular philosophy outside this circle of interests, and 
the scepticism promoted by the critical school of thought, 
there must have been something as restful and invigorat- 
ing in the serene calmness and assurance which is charac- 
teristic of the mathematical methods. Comte early fixed 
this character in his mind by the term positive, and the 
aim of his life became to expound and extol the canons 
of the positive sciences and to apply them to the solution 
of social and political problems. His great treatise, the 
' Cours de Philosophie Positive,' was published between 
the years 1830 and 1842 in six volumes. In it he 
leads up, from the mathematical and exact sciences, 

the independence and dignity of 
the organic studies. In so far as 
the latter understands me, it is at 
heart more favourable than hostile, 
because it feels in a confused way 
that my philosophical endeavour is 
directed towards liberating it from 
the oppression of the mathema- 

ticians. I have found there not 
only complete scientific apprecia- 
tion in the person of my eminent 
friend M. de Blainville, but also 
numerous and respected adherents, 
&c., &c." ('Cours,' vol. vi, p. 22, 

i' w. 


beginning with astronomy, through the biological to the 
sociologiral sciences. Significantly he leaves out psy- 
chology and metaphysics. Through omitting the former 
he stands in opposition to the then ruling school o 
philosophy in France, headed by Eoyer Collard and 
Victor Cousin ; through omitting the latter he stands 
in opposition to the ruling philosophical systems m 
Germany. Though we read a great deal in Comtes 
philosophy of the three stages of knowledge, the theo- 
Lical, the metaphysical, and the positive, and though 
he emphasises the fact that positive knowledge is not 
Hmited to that of facts, but looks for the connection 
of things or the laws of nature, Comte does not contri- 
bute anything material to the theory of knowledge. 
The exposition of the methods of exact research was 
not followed as it was in England by a psychological 
analysis of these methods. This was effected later ^ by 

at the College de France, and one 
of the greatest physicists of the 
century, having earned through his 
memoirs on electro-dynamics the 
title of the "Father" of that 
science. Of his philosophical writ- 
ings his classification of the sciences, 
differing from that of Bacon, became 
known in England through Whewell 
in his ' Philosophy of the Inductive 
Sciences. ' Sonjewhat later another 
teacher at the Ecole Poly technique, 
J. Duhamel (1797-1872) a contem- 
porary of Comte, through his text- 
books on the Calculus and on 
'Analytical Dynamics,' exercised 
for some time an important in- 
fluence upon the teaching of higher 
mathematics in France f°d Ger- 
many. He published in 1866 
1872 a large work m five vol 
umes, 'Des Kathodes dans les 
Sciences de Raisonnement, m 



1 Though English and. later on, 
German thinkers have gained a 
general reputation as having mainly 
dealt with the logic and methods of 
scientific thought, it is well to note 
that France all through the nine- 
teenth century possessed an ex- 
tensive literature on the subject 
which, on the whole, has attracted 
little attention in other countries, 
and has, even in France itself, been 
verv insufficiently appreciated. 
There are notably four representa- 
tives of the mathematical, physical, 
and natural sciences who occupied 
themselves with the principles and 
the philosophy of the sciences m 
which they themselves had, through 
their original researches, gained 
great distinction. Foremost among 
these stands Andr^-Marie Ampere 
(1775-1826). He was professor at 
the Ecole Polytechnique as well as 

other writers, such as Duhamel and Cournot. These 
latter writings, however, appeared at a time when other 
interests had already attracted European thought in all 
the three countries into other channels. 

The conception which we form as to the nature of 
thought and its possible achievements, the attitude 
which an age takes up to the problem of knowledge, 
the natural history of the Logos which it believes in, 
does not depend so much upon theoretical investigations 
as upon those kinds of knowledge which are at the time 
prevalent and active, which are fruitful in new dis- 
coveries and suggestions, and increase the resources of 
the human intellect. A new region of knowledge open- 
ing out new fields of research is more interesting and 

which he insists upon analysis as 
the true method not only in mathe- 
matics but also in other sciences. 
Contemporary with Comte and Du- 
hamel was A. A. Cournot (1801- 
1877), a pupil of the Ecole Normale, 
who, beginning with a mathematical 
treatise on the * Theory of Proba- 
bilities,' published a series of writ- 
ings all dealing more or less with 
the methods and fundamental ideas 
of the various mathematical, his- 
torical, and economic sciences. 
Though original, his works had little 
influence at the time, but his 
memory has been quite recently 
revived since a new interest in 
the various subjects of his re- 
searches has sprung up (see ' Revue 
de M^taphysique et de Morale,' 
1905, pp. 291-543). As eminent 
and original in physiology as Am- 
pere in physics, Claude Bernard 
(1813-1878) produced a great im- 
pression through his * Introduction 
k la Medicine experimental, ' 1865, 
and 'La Science exp^rimentale,' 
1878, in which he successfully 
combated the older vitalism still 

prevalent in the medical schools 
of France without going to the 
opposite extreme represented by 
contemporary thinkers in Ger- 
many and some later biologists 
in France (see vol. ii. p. 409 of 
this History, where he is com- 
pared with Lotze in Grermany). 
The traditional interest which some 
of the most eminent of scientific 
thinkers in France have, especially 
in later life, taken in the funda- 
mental principles, the philosophy, 
and the history of their science has 
been maintained in quite recent 
times by such foremost thinkers 
as MM. Henri Poincar^, Jules 
Tannery, Duhem, and others, to 
some of whose writings I may have 
occasion to refer in the sequel. It 
is interesting also to inquire into 
the causes which gave notoriety to 
some of these writings, whereas 
others equally important and 
original were treated with com- 
parative neglect. (See Levy-Briihl 
in ' Revue de M^t. et de Mor.,' 1911, 
p. 292.) 

2 B 





^ If 


Revival and 
of the 



eloquent than an abstract treatise on logic. The latter 
solves the problem of knowledge theoretically, the former 
does so practically. The second quarter of the nineteenth 
century witnessed the growth and recognised towards its 
close the existence of new fields of knowledge in various 

The first great movement of this kind consisted in the 
revival and deepening of the historical sciences, under 
the influence of the critical spirit on the one side and 
the great ideals of classical literature on the other. On 
this I have discoursed in an earlier chapter. But this 
movement was very much strengthened by the peculiar 
development of the abstract philosophical systems them- 
selves. In Hegel's system emphasis was laid on the 
genesis of ideas, on the gradual development of these 
ideas in the course of the history of the human mind. 
The consummation of the system itself was to be found 
in the History of Philosophy, which Hegel was the first 
to include as an integral and culminating portion of the 
whole edifice of philosophical thought. In the history 
of the different philosophical systems Hegel recognised 
the appearance in time of those categories or leading 
principles of thought which the 'Phenomenology' had 
traced in the individual mind, which the 'Logic' had 
brought into abstract expression, and which, with more 
or less success, had served as the leading canons through 
which to understand the development in nature, in art, 
in society, and in religion. This idea of mental develop- 
ment, of the movement and working of ideas in history, 
was put forward by Hegel with such force and supported 
by so many happy illustrations that it made a great 



impression upon the younger generation. What was 
merely suggested by Leibniz, Lessing, and Kant, what 
remained vague and elemental in Herder and found 
poetical expression in Goethe, seemed to be raised to 
the position of a definite science by Hegel. What was 
the subject of a kind of inspiration with earlier and less 
methodical thinkers became now, as it seemed, a teach- 
able method. The great idea of development became 
suggestive of researches on a larger or smaller scale 
in many regions of historical, literary, esthetic, and 
theological criticism. Other thinkers who did not follow 
Hegel into the same daring abstractions, and who could 
not find in the rhythms of the dialectical process the 
key for the understanding of the phenomena of mental 
life or their historical development, supported neverthe- 
less through their historical studies the same movement. 
If they did not possess, they at least sought for, the 
right points of view, the leading ideas, from which to 
comprehend the mental life of earlier ages. Foremost 
among these stood Schelling and Schleiermacher. Not- 
ably, so far as philosophical thought is concerned, a 
great gain must be recorded when the study of the 
leading systems of ancient philosophy, pre-eminently of 
Plato and Aristotle, was revived, the first by Schleier- 
macher, the latter by Trendelenburg. In the year 1862 
Trendelenburg could write : " Had such a powerful mind 
as Schelling begun his philosophical studies with Plato 
and Arifetotle instead of going in the reverse order, back- 
ward from Fichte and Kant to the analogies of Herder, 
then to Spinoza, then to Plato and Giordano Bruno, 
then on to Jacob Bohm, and only finally to Aristotle, 




... a chapter of German philosophy would have come 
out differently, larger, more lasting, and more fruitful. 
So important is it to march with history and to follow 
the historic development of the great ideas in mankind." ^ 
Gradually almost the whole philosophical interest in 
Germany — with two or three brilliant exceptions — 
threw itself into historical studies, bent upon tracing 
everywhere the movement of ideas, and thus elaborating 
on a larger and more accurate scale the programme 
of Hegel's philosophy. But as the lofty ideas of the 
classical period of German literature, where philosophy 
itself had found its inspiration, receded into the past, 
and what Hegel had done and SchelHng attempted ap- 
peared to the critical eye to be untenable or shadowy, 
the flood of historical literature descended more and 
more to lower levels, spreading out in the study of 
mere detail. A loss of grasp, a disintegration of phil- 
osophical thought as a whole, was the inevitable con- 
sequence. Not unnaturally, therefore, a generation 
succeeded for whom the earlier leading ideals had lost 
their meaning, and who would accordingly seize with 
eagerness any new suggestion which afforded the pros- 
pect of arriving at that unification of thought which 
had been temporarily lost, but without which no fruit- 
ful progress could be made in any large department of 


Through the working of the scientific spirit as well as 
through that of the critical spirit, with both of which my 
readers have become acquainted in earlier chapters of 

1 See the preface to the second edition of *Logische Untersuch- 
ungen. ' 



this history, a great body of new knowledge had been 
launched into existence during the first half of the 
century. To this all the three countries contributed, 
though, as has been shown before, science was most 
systematically cultivated in France and the higher 
criticism in Germany, whilst English learning preserved 
its traditional character by adhering to the experimental, 
historical, and inductive methods of investigation and 
exploration, without attempting that unification of 
thought which was such a prominent characteristic of 
Continental learning. This country has, however, the 
merit of having, under the influence of Mill and 
Hamilton, laid the beginnings in the theory of those 
modern processes of thought and methods of research 
which were practised with so much success in the exact 
and historical sciences abroad. The problem of know- 
ledge became accordingly a definite subject of a new 
science about the middle of the century : in England 
through Mill and Hamilton, abroad as a reaction against 
the perplexities which the criticism of the abstract, not- 
ably the dialectic methods had revealed. In Germany 
and France ^ the problem of knowledge became identified 

^ I must here draw attention, as 
I did on a former occasion {supra^ 
chap, iii., p. 274, note 1), to the 
work of Charles Renouvier, who at- 
tempted from the year 1854 on- 
ward a reconstruction of the 
fundamental doctrines of logic and 
psychology on the lines of Kantian 
criticism. He proposed— as did, 
twenty years later, a school of 
thinkers in this country with 
reference to Hegel — to do the 
work of Kant over again, adhering 
more strictly than Kant himself to 

the lines of criticism and discard- 
ing the dualism which Kant had 
introduced into his system by 
adopting, in a special form, the old 
Platonic conception of the difference 
of appearance and reality. By 
doing this Renouvier deserves not 
only to be termed the first in time 
of the Neo-Kantians, but also the 
first of modern thinkers who aimed 
at a consistent system of pure 
phenomenism. This has been well 
brought out by Mr Shadworth H. 
Hodgson, who in two articles in 





ology and 


with a solution of those questions which Kant had 
placed at the entrance of his celebrated Critiques. It 
may, however, be doubted whether these purely theoreti- 
cal, logical, and psychological investigations would have 
brought about, by themselves, that great change which 
has come over our ideas on the nature and value of 
knowledge during the last forty years, had it not been 
that the exact sciences themselves, about the middle 
of the century, outgrew the boundaries which the older 

' Mind ' (vol. vi., 1881) has given, 
as it seems to me, what is still the 
best exposition of Renouvier's 
fundamental conceptions, which he 
classes with his own as "Pheno- 
menism." " Had I," he says {loc. 
cit., p. 32), "been acquainted with 
M. Renouvier's Works when I 
published the 'Philosophy of 
Reflection ' [2 vols., 1878] (as I must 
now confess with shame I was not), 
I should not have laid claim, in the 
unqualified way I did, to have been 
the first to dispense in a system of 
philosophy with the notion of 
substance" (vol. ii. p. 189), " though 
basing that claim on my views 
with regard to time and space. 
It is equally dispensed with in M. 
Renouvier's system, though its 
place is not supplied in the same 
way ; and this retractation, unim- 
portant as it may be, is therefore 
his due." Mr Hodgson states, 
however, that "a prior name ought 
not to be omitted when we speak 
of a critical philosophy, the name 
of a younger contemporary of Kant 
himself, that of Salomon Maimon. 
He too was phenomenist and criti- 
cist, but he did not live to bring 
his philosophical system to comple- 
tion. M. Renouvier's originality, 
too, is in every way beyond ques- 
tion. He can in no sense be called 
the successor of Maimon. Their 
ways diverge widely, though it is 

from a point within phenomenism. 
Both go together up to the point of 
complete correlation between con- 
sciousness and its objects, which is 
the note of phenomenism; but 
when they come to the analysis 
of phenomena within consciousness, 
then immediately their difierences 
begin, differences which are of a 
fundamental kind." 

If the painstaking investiga- 
tion of the psychological and 
logical foundations of philosophical 
thought may be considered as one 
of the most appropriate subjects 
for philosophical teaching, then it 
seems to me that a careful study of 
M. Renouvier's earlier works would 
serve as an Introduction quite as 
valuable as that of Lotze's Logic 
and Metaphysic in German or Mr 
Bradley's Logic (assisted by Prof. 
Bosanquet's 'Treatise on Logic, 
2 vols., 1888) in English literature. 
Renouvier has the further advant- 
age of being equally acquainted 
with the two independent move- 
ments bearing upon the problem of 
knowledge, that originating with 
Kant in Germany and that begin- 
ning with Mill in England, also 
with the one-sided development of 
the former in the direction of 
Idealism and Absolutism in Hegel, 
and of that of the latter m the 
direction of empiricism and natural- 
ism under Spencer in England. 




principles had fixed, and were thus forced to introduce 
new conceptions. These new conceptions have not only 
opened out in their application vast regions of natural 
and historical knowledge, but have also tended to change 
our ideas regarding its nature, leading up to a new 
theory of knowledge and novel solutions of the ever- 
lasting problem. It may be useful to consider some- 
what more in detail some of the more important steps 
by which this change has been brought about. 

Foremost in this respect stand the modern definitions 
of two terms with which older science operated, fre- precision, 
quently unconscious of the ambiguity inherent in them. 
These two terms are, matter and force. They have 
been supplanted in the exact or mathematical sciences 
by two other terms, viz., mass and energy,^ which are 
capable of strict definition as measurable quantities 
in time and space. Upon them is built up the purely 
mechanical explanation of things and phenomena. It 
is true that in those natural sciences which deal with 
the individual things of nature we cannot yet discard 
the older terms, matter and force. But this — accord- 
ing to an opinion which can neither be proved nor 
disproved — only shows that where they have to be 
employed, as when we, for instance, deal with chemical 

« ii 
' 1 1 


^ Some thinkers would prefer to 
say Mass and Motion, and to define 
energy in terms of Mass (or Inertia) 
and Velocity (or rate of motion). 
If this is done, it is evident that 
phenomena in which mechanical 
motion does not primarily present 
itself must be translated into these 
mechanical terms before they can 
be treated with exactitude. On 
the other side, the leaders of the 

energetic philosophy abroad, with 
Prof. Ostwald at their head, con- 
ceive of energy as a fundamental 
quantity possessing two distinct 
factors, that of quantity (capacity) 
and that of intensity. With them 
mechanical energy is only one form 
of energy, and the term is conceived 
also to embrace non- mechanical 
(psychical) forms of energy. 





, 66. 
of energy. 

substances and affinkies or with the instincts and im- 
pulses visible in organic nature, there remain dark 
points into which the daylight of exact science has not 
yet penetrated, — relations which are not yet accessible to 
strict definition in terms of measurable quantities. 

In the seventh chapter of the first portion of this 
History I have shown how the conception of energy has 
been gradually evolved out of vaguer conceptions, and 
how the two principles of the conservation and the 
dissipation (degradation or disgregation) of energy have 
been established which respectively maintain that the 
amount of energy in the physical world remains con- 
stant, and that this amount tends to change from a 
more to a less available or useful condition. It was 
shown how the experimental proofs of the conservation 
of energy were furnished mainly in England, the 
theoretical in Germany; how the idea of dissipation 
originated in France; and how the whole doctrine of 
energy, so far as mechanical processes are concerned, 
was brought into clear relief and mathematically 
formulated mainly by the experimental and theoretical 
labours of Lord Kelvin. At the same time I showed 
how a school of natural philosophers has arisen in 
Germany who see in the^ theory of^ergy, or energetics, 
the fundamental doctrine which is to explain all physical 
phenomena. Unfortunately, so far as philosophical 
writers are concerned, almost the whole literature down 
to quite recent times is permeated and vitiated by a 
want of clear distinction between the mechanical defini- 
tion of the older term force, which is now superseded by 
the less ambiguous term energy, and the still prevailing 

meaning according to which force is the hidden cause or 
spring of motion. For, in the same, degree as the modern 
definition of energy has brought clearness into physical 
science, where the tendency is to look upon all natural 
processes as transformations of energy or of various 
modes of motion, it has been found more and more 
impracticable to comprise in this attempt, in the same 
way, a definition of life and an explanation, or even an 
adequate description, of vital phenomena. 

Accordingly, this first great step^ by which the 
physical sciences have* been more completely elevated 
into the region of exact research would have left the 
biological and psychological phenomena at a comparative 
disadvantage, inasmuch as, the older sense (the duplex 
meaning) of the word force being destroyed, the connec- 

« J: 

^ The dualism which, according 
to the modern conception, attaches 
to the term knowledge, and which 
differs from that which was char- 
acteristic of the middle ages, which 
distinguished divine and human 
knowledge, may — in one aspect — 
be defined by looking at the mean- 
ing of the term force. In the 
older and popular use of the term 
there lurks a reference to the sub- 
jective element, that connected 
with volition and conscious exer- 
tion, what we may term the active 
principle as known to us through 
personal experience or introspection. 
If on the one side the clarifying and 
simplifying process in scientific 
thought consists in removing this 
subjective element, then, on the 
other side, we may say that a 
parallel movement in philosophical 
thought consists in the increasingly 
distinct recognition how this sub- 
jective factor of volition enters into 
all mental phenomena. A one- 

sided and extreme expression of 
this fact is to be found in the 
philosophy of Schopenhauer, who, 
in his first great work (1819), 
influenced, no doubt, not only by 
Kant but also by Fichte and 
Schelling, identified the unknown 
"Thing in itself " of Kant with the 
Will. It is interesting to note 
that, when materialistic philosophy 
in the middle of the century had 
emphasised the purely mechanical 
aspect of the forces of nature, 
at a time when the conception of 
vital forces was banished from 
German physiology, many of those 
who still longed for the spiritual 
view of things were powerfully 
attracted by the philosophy of 
Schopenhauer, the fundamental 
idea of which in endless different 
forms permeates the whole of 
modern philosophy, as we shall have 
occasion to see in subsequent chap- 



■■ 'J 



■ i 



Darwin and 


tion between the exact and the biological (including the 
mental) sciences was removed. But, fortunately for the 
biological sciences, a second and equally important step 
was taken about the same time, by which one of the 
fundamental conceptions through which we fix our 
comprehension of the phenomena of living matter re- 
ceived likewise a clearer definition. The older terms of 
development and progress, denoting not merely change 
but change from the lower, simpler, and less interesting 
and valuable, to the higher, more complex, more 
interesting, and more valuable, received likewise a more 
definite expression by which the natural as well as the 
mental philosopher were enabled to connect facts 
which before seemed unconnected, and to give to 
their descriptions and classifications a deeper meaning; 
enabling them also to some extent to know beforehand 
in which direction to look for the discovery of new and 
significant facts and phenomena. This second step may 
be identified with Charles Darwin's work and the 
appearance in the year 1859 of the 'Origin of 


The title of this epoch-making book was not with- 
out ambiguity ; for, in the course of the diffusion and 
criticism of the ideas contained in it, it has become 
more and more evident that the process of natural 
selection could not explain the origin of living matter, 
but only the origin of separate species, the greater 
differentiation which is continually going on in all 
natural and mental processes. The genetic view of 
natural phenomena has become limited to a genealogical 
record, without being able to deal with first beginnings. 



' 1 

The same position has arisen with regard to that great 
movement of thought which originated abroad in the 
second half of the eighteenth century, of which Leibniz 
and Herder were the first exponents, but which received 
greater distinctness in the philosophical systems of 
Schelling, Schleiermacher, and especially of Hegel. Both 
in the history of nature and in that of mankind what 
was originally aimed at — viz., an exposition of the origin 
or genesis of things — has more and more had to content 
itself with a record of genealogies, generations, and 
transformations, i.e., with a theory of descent or ascent, 
without being able to penetrate to first beginnings or 
•origins. In the theories of the inanimate world, notably 
in the celebrated attempt of Kant and Laplace to 
explain the development of the solar system, the whole 
scheme reduces itself to a rearrangement of the constant 
quantities of masses and energy in space. This seemed 
feasible by taking into consideration the simple laws of 
motion, the law of gravitation, and — in the sequel also — 
the exchangeability of heat and mechanical motion. The 
question as to the ground or sufficient reason for the 
whole of this process which goes on in space and time 
could be left out altogether as unnecessary for the 
mechanical explanation of things. In the development 
of organic life, however, and still more in that of the 
mental life of individuals and of mankind, a new principle 
appeared. This was the principle of growth, including 
order, progress, and, at a later stage, what have been 
appropriately termed spiritual values and their increase.-^ 

The principle of growth, i.e., 
of an increase which cannot be 
defined by the categories of more 

or less alone, but implies a certain 
arrangement or order, a Together 
of things accessible only to the 



3 ITa 






H ■ 


Already before Darwin, Malthus had pointed out that 
the main characteristic of social development consists in 
the growth of population. This idea put Darwin on the 
track of his theory of natural selection/ which appeared 

synoptic, not to the analytic, view, 
forms really the fundamental and 
characteristic principle of the 
whole of the living, as differen- 
tiated from the non-living, world. 
Though the idea of order and 
arrangement as distinguished from 
mere quantity is a mathematical, 
or, if we like to call it so, a mechani- 
cal conception, this would not 
necessarily lead to the simpler or 
more complicated phenomena of 
living matter and of the animated 
world, were it not for the further 
characteristic that where certain 
forms of order and arrangement, of 
matter and motion exist, they have 
a tendency to spread in space 
like a vortex which draws sur- 
rounding things into its action. 
Through this property living things 
are not only, to a certain extent, 
self - centred and self - contained ; 
they are also mutually exclusive, 
as in a world in which the sum of 
matter and of motion are constant 
quantities, an increasing absorption 
of these constituents in certain 
places must mean a diminution in 
other places. This leads to the 
phenomenon of crowding out, to 
unconscious or conscious selection, 
and underlies all the phenomena of 
physical and mental life. In the 
whole of this process there are 
involved two principles which 
among recent thinkers, as it seems 
to me. Prof. Wundt has the merit 
of having most prominently put 
forward in his analysis of mental 
life, namely, the principle of cre- 
ative synthesis and the principle 
of the growth of spiritual values. 
But what is created in the process 
of creative synthesis exists only for 
the synoptic intellect, and 'this had 

been pointed out in various ways 
by other thinkers before Wundt. 
Allowing, however, that he has 
more clearly recognised the supreme 
importance and the connection of 
those two principles, it must be 
regretted that he has not devoted 
himself more exclusively to explain- 
ing and illustrating them. As it 
is, they are rather hidden away 
in the enormous bulk of his volu- 
minous writings, and have hardly 
in recent histories of philosophical 
thought been duly appreciated. 

^ A remarkable passage is to 
be found in Lotze's early Tract 
entitled * Leben Lebenskraf t, ' pub- 
lished in 1843 and reprinted in 
'Kleine Schriften ' (vol. i. p. 139 
sqq. ) Referring to the importance 
of Metabolism (Stoffwechsel) in 
plants, he says : " With reference 
to this point, we must admit that 
wherever a successive development 
of a form is to take place assimi- 
lation of matter is necessary ; but 
that likewise rejection of matter, 
i.e., metabolism, should take place 
can only have its reason in this, 
that the elements which are neces- 
sary for growth are not supplied 
in the suitable form, but in a con- 
nection which has to be dissolved, 
and of which only one part is uti- 
lised, whereas the other is rejected 
as a bye - product. Metabolism 
would, in plants, appear almost 
inconceivable if it consisted in 
anything else than in a rejection 
of that which is unsuitable, so 
that in this case it is not some- 
thing unused by the organisna, 
but something unsuitable that is 
rejected" (p. 206). This recog- 
nition of the connection of growth 
and selection is significant. Prof. 


i -. i I 



to be the necessary consequence of overcrowding and the 
cause of the survival of the fittest. But this idea of the 
increase of population, which was applied by Darwin to 
the whole of the organic world on its physical side, can 
in the same way be applied to the growth of ideas and 
of ideal interests and values on the mental side of the 
organic world. In fact, in the whole extent of animated 
nature, we cannot leave out the question regarding the 
ultimate ground or sufficient reason as we do in the 
inanimate world, for the principles of the conservation 
of mass and energy do not suffice to explain the evident 
increase of that something which permeates all living 
things, from the lowest to the highest examples. 

Now here we have to record another change in 
modern terminology and the striving after a clearer 
definition of ambiguous terms. As the word Force 
received, in the exact sciences, a purely mathematical 
definition, being supplanted by the word Energy, so causfand 
likewise the terms Cause and Efifect have undergone a defiifed. 

I I 

Jas. Ward, in his " Gifford Lectures " 
on 'The Realm of Ends' (1911), re- 
ferring to Wundt's conception of a 
creative synthesis, says : " The so- 
called conservation of mass and 
energy might be regarded as sym- 
bolising the initial state of the 
pluralistic world, and as symbolising 
too the mere permanence and 
abstract being of its many units. 
But it is notorious that these 
concepts are the result of ignoring 
those differences of quality which 
alone convert units into individuals. 
Without these we may have Er- 
haltung but not Entfaltung, as a 
German would say ; we may have 
conservation and indefinite com- 
position, but not development and 
definite organisation. In short, 

the concrete integration of ex- 
perience is the diametrical opposite 
to the mechanical resultant of a 
composition of abstract units : it 
is a creative resultant or synthesis, 
to use Wundt's happy and striking 
phrase." To this Ward adds the 
note that to Lotze belongs the 
credit of first signalising the fact 
to which Wundt has given the 
name ; and Lotze even gets so far 
as to apply the term creation to 
this "relating activity," as he calls 
it (p. 103 sqq.) This "relating 
activity " spoken of by Lotze in his 
'Metaphysik' (§§ 268 and 271) is 
really identical with the synoptic 
view, or the esprit d'ensemble, of 

i 11 

M ! 






similar process of more precise definition. For the 
purposes of the mechanical sciences, cause and effect 
mean respectively merely the antecedent and the sub- 
sequent in time. But this definition, which is sufficient 
for the mechanical explanation of phenomena, and which 
can be mathematically expressed, does not embrace 
either the conception of the ultimate ground and 
sufficient reason of things, or of that power, of that 
principle of progress, of which we are conscious through 
our Will and our actions, and which we transfer by 
analogy to the explanation of the phenomena of growth 
in the region of organic and mental life. 

This twofold development in quite recent times — the 
narrowing down of the meanings of the words force and 
cause to denote such relations as can be mathematically 
defined in terms of measurable quantities, excluding 
actual increase or decrease — has put an entirely different 
aspect on the problem of knowledge, and has, in its 
sequel, brought about the conception of two kinds of 
knowledge, corresponding to the two meanings of the 
word force and to the two meanings of the word cause. 
We have seen that Kant took up the problem of know- 
ledge by asking the question. How is exact knowledge 
possible ? He started from the admitted fact that such 
knowledge actually exists in the mathematical and 
mechanical sciences. We have also seen how, in the 
middle of the nineteenth century, the problem as it was 
defined by Kant was taken up again by Mill in England 
and by the Neo-Kantians in France and Germany. But, 
in the meantime, the nature of this exact knowledge 
which Kant took for granted has become more clearly 

understood, and it has also somewhat changed through 
the development of these sciences themselves. 

A few examples of this change and of its causes will 
suffice to show how the problem of knowledge has 
assumed a different aspect. Kant's view of nature was 
to a large extent comprised in that circle of notions 
which I have in an earlier chapter termed the astronomi- 
cal view of nature. He worked with the conceptions of 
attraction and repulsion, of action at a distance. These 
notions, which are as old as philosophy itself, had re- 
ceived an exact definition through Newton's principle 
of gravitation and through the measurement of electric 
actions, all of which came under the same numerical 
relation. Accordingly not only Kant, but still more 
specifically Laplace and his school, made this numerical 
relation which obtained in all actions at a distance the 
fundamental principle of their natural philosophy. The 
warning of Newton that the principle involved could 
not be considered as ultimate, but itself demanded a 
further explanation, was forgotten till well on into the 
nineteenth century. Even Helmholtz, who did so much 
in the middle of the century to bring about the great 
change I am speaking of, stated, in his celebrated tract 
" On the Conservation of Force," that natural phenomena 
might be supposed to be explained if they were reduced 
to a combination of central forces acting at a distance. 
Neither can it be denied that, to the popular mind, 
action at a distance, attraction and repulsion, are of such 
common occurrence, and are met with in so many 
different forms, that they have, through habit, become 
elevated to the position of ultimate, not further analys- 


I t 




sion of as- 



able processes, which afford to our understanding a 
convenient resting-place, a temporary and provisional 
foundation upon which to build. But this aspect upon 
which the astronomical view of nature is based, which 
governs almost half the exact science of the nineteenth 
century, and which still enjoys popular favour, was in 
the course of the century dispelled or superseded by the 
theory of action by contact. According to this view, 
substituted, empty space disappeared in the imagination of natural 
philosophers, a plenum being put in the place of the 
vacuum of intermediate space. This change of aspect, 
which was brought about mainly through the study of 
the phenomena of radiation, may be identified with the 
name of Faraday. To him and his school it seemed 
more natural to reduce mechanical action to processes 
in the immediate vicinity of the acting centres, and they 
accordingly filled empty space with an imaginary 
something called ether, and undertook the very fruitful 
task of defining in terms of measurable quantities the 
properties and the behaviour of this all -pervading sub- 
stance or entity. What we may call the second school 
of French mathematicians after Laplace, those who were 
largely influenced by FresneFs discoveries, adopted an 
intermediate position, looked upon the ether as an atomic 
structure, and attempted to explain the movements of 
this structure on the same lines as physical astro- 
nomy had followed in the calculation of cosmic pheno- 
mena. They employed attractive and repulsive forces 
acting at very small distances, as astronomers had used 
them at very large distances. This remnant of the 
astronomical view was finally destroyed in the school or 



Faraday by the British mathematicians of the Cambridge 
school, and by the introduction of the conception of 
energy and the theory of its distribution in the plenum 
of space. In passing, it may be remarked that an 
absolute plenum and perfect contact present as much 
difficulty to the thinking mind as action at a distance 
does, but this does not prevent these conceptions being 
of great use as soon as they can be mathematically 

But this change in the fundamental notions with 
which the new school of natural philosophers, headed by 
Faraday, worked, not only proved extremely fruitful by 
opening out new vistas of research and avenues of 
thought leading to the discovery of many quite un- 
expected facts ; it had also the philosophically far more 
important effect of shaking the confidence with which 
the popular mind regarded, not the results, but the pro- 
cesses and contrivances, of mathematical and mechanical 
reasoning. This was still more the case when it became 
increasingly difficult to construct mechanical models of 
those elementary motions and mechanisms through 
which the mathematician pictured to himself the funda- 
mental processes of nature. The construction of such 
models, though only mentally, seems to the present day 
to be a desideratum for some of the greatest minds as 
often as they attempt to give mechanical explanations. 
But as these models grew more and more complicated, 
the conviction gradually dawned upon philosophical 
thinkers that such devices could no longer be considered 
as describing the real processes of nature, but that they 
were merely convenient and helpful means by which 

VOL. m. 2 c 







to start a train of reasoning, the results of which might 
or might not be true, according to the verification — or 
otherwise — afforded by experience and observation. 

Thus it has come about that what Kant, and before him 
Hume, looked upon as exact knowledge, has in the eyes 
of more recent thinkers acquired quite a different aspect 
from that which it presented to them. Mathematical 
and mechanical calculations are only a convenient 
method of joining together various facts and phenomena 
which surround us in time and space, a means by which 
we can fix, define, and describe them, and arrive at 
a knowledge of other facts and phenomena which, but 
for these methods, would remain hidden and unknown 
to us. The present aim of scientific knowledge is, to 
describe the occurrences round about us in the simplest 
form and as completely as possible. The object is on 
the one side to attain to a greater simplicity and accord- 
ingly to a more complete unification of knowledge, and 
on the other side to make this more and more complete. 
In order to do this, it has been found necessary to 
supplement what we can see and observe by imaginary 
pictures of that which we cannot see, either because it 
is too remote, too far away in space and time, to come 
within our horizon, or because it is too minute, and 
accordingly escapes our notice. But unless we return 
on these circuitous paths — which lead us beyond our 
horizon or underneath that which lies on the surface — 
into the limits of what we can see and observe, ending 
up with the visible, the tangible, and the finite, all 
those complicated theories, built up with so much ingen- 
uity and elaborated with so much care, are of no use 

whatever, and have no right to be called knowledge, 
however exact they may be. A recognition of these ei. 
fundamental truths, and of the real nature of scientific ofStfac 
knowledge, is gradually making its way into philosophical ^°°''^''^^'* 
hterature. It is also more and more being allowed by 
the leaders of scientific thought themselves, some of 
whom have probably done more than philosophers by 
profession to lay bare the roots and foundations of 
scientific reasoning. At best it has been, and is still, 
a slow process by which these plain truths are being 
elaborated and promulgated, nor is it possible to give 
any single names with which we could identify in any- 
thing like completeness the modern theory of knowledge. 
In a note ^ I have tried to collect references to the more 

^ The most important enuncia- 
tion of the nature of exact science, 
viz., that it aims at describing and 
not at explaining natural pheno- 
mena, is probably to be found in 
j the introductory sentence of G. 
' Kirchhoff's Lectures 'On Dynamics.' 
On the idea expressed in this 
simple sentence the whole of the 
purely scientific discussion of the 
principles of natural philosophy 
hangs, together with the more 
recent interest taken by philosophi- 
cal writers in this subject. The 
sentence has been quoted over and 
over again, not only in text-books 
of natural philosophy but also in 
philosophical treatises. It is, on 
the one side, the result of the 
labours of mathematicians and ex- 
perimentalists, on the other side 
the starting - point for a clearer 
separation and recognition of the 
different aims of scientific and 
philosophical thought. Among 
German thinkers it is especially 
E. du Bois Reymond who, in many 
passages of his various Addresses, 

has referred to this subject. Shortly 
before Kirchhoff^'s Lectures there 
appeared E. Diihring's 'Critical 
History of the general Principles 
of Mechanics' (1873), a book which 
would have exercised a greater 
influence had it not been for the 
polemical invectives introduced in- 
to the later editions. KirchhoflTs 
definition should be contrasted 
with the closing sentence of Lotze's 
'Logic' (1874), in which he ex- 
presses the hope that "German 
philosophy will always rise again 
to the attempt to comprehend and 
not only to calculate the order of 
things." The next important and 
epoch-making discussion of this 
subject is the * Critical Exposition 
of i the Development of Dynamics,' 
by E. Mach ('Die Mechanik in 
ihrer Entwicklung,' 1st ed., 1883), 
a book which has now acquired 
a world-wide reputation, and should 
be studied by every teacher of 
natural as well as of mental philo- 
sophy. Somewhat later, Karl 
Pearson published his 'Grammar 





important works which deal with this subject since the 
age of Mill in England and the return to Kant in 
Germany. But it is hardly from a philosophical point 
of view — i.e., from the point of view of the theory of 
knowledge as such— that the more important investiga- 
tions have been undertaken, or that the great revolution 
regarding the aspect of the problem of knowledge is 
being prepared. This has been done in the interests of 
science itself, which everywhere has been brought face 
to face with fundamental problems, having outgrown 
the language and terms in which it was clothed a 
hundred years ago. With the intention of providing 
more suitable expressions, more elastic notions, and 
wider principles, some of the foremost scientific thinkers 
have, within the last fifty years, attacked the funda- 
mental conceptions with which science operated in their 
time. This I showed, at sufficient length, in the first 
part of this History,^ where the leading principles of 
modern science were discussed, and the different stages 

of Science' (1892), in which he re- 
fers to Kirchhofif and Mach, and 
develops independently correcter 
notions of the principles of science ; 
following on the lines indicated in 
this country by Mill and Stanley 
Jevons on the one side, by Clerk 
Maxwell and Clifford on the other. 
French literature, after having in 
the early years of the century, 
notably under the influence of 
Lagrange and later on through 
Poncelet and Carnot, contributed 
so largely to the clearing up of the 
principles of pure science, has 
quite recently produced two origi- 
nal works on the subject by M. 
Henri Poincard, entitled 'La 
Science et I'Hypoth^se' (1903 and 
1905). But it should also be 

noted that already in his 'Essais 
de Critique G^n^rale' Renouvier 
gave some very clear and correct 
definitions of fundamental mechani- 
cal principles, at a time when both 
in Germany and in this country 
the notions on this subject were 
still generally in a state of great 

1 I shall return to this subject 
in a later chapter, which will deal 
not so much with the leading 
principles of scientific research as 
with the philosophical problem of 
nature, i.e., with the various 
attempts to comprehend the total- 
ity of things as revealed to us by 
our outer senses,— what we may 
term the cosmological problem. 



of their gradual development identified with the lead- 
ing representatives of the various mathematical, physical, 
and natural sciences. 

If we now look at the whole of this change, in the 
midst of which we are living, from a different point of 
view, we are led back to the observation with which I 
opened the Introduction to this, the second, part of our 
historical survey. We may say that this change consists 
in finding and fixing new meanings to the existing words 
of our current language; occasionally also in coining 
new terms wherewith to fix certain ideas and meanings 
which are unconsciously striving after clearness and 
adequate expression. Prominent examples of this kind 
are afforded by the words force, cause, and development. 
It is a clarifying process. But every definition has not 
only the advantage of producing clearness and exacti- 
tude ; it has also the disadvantage of narrowing the field 
of vision, of limiting the view, leaving out much that 
lies outside, but which, though less defined, is not 
necessarily less real and important. If the scientific 
definition of the word force tends in the direction of 
making the word superfluous in mechanical science, it 
does not therefore destroy the deeper meaning of force 
as the cause or origin of motion which we continually 
experience individually in our voluntary efforts. If the 
terms cause and effect are discarded for the more easily 
defined terms antecedent and subsequent in time, we do 
not hereby get rid of looking for the sufficient reason 
and ultimate ground of this sequence and for the final 
end and purpose. If we are told that the object of 
science is to describe phenomena as simply and as com- 



pletely as possible, we do not thereby satisfy the desire 
of having things explained — i.e., of seeing their hidden 
sense and deeper meaning. And lastly, if we reduce 
the meaning of the word development, or evolution, to 
mechanical processes of differentiation and integration, 
we do not thereby satisfy the abiding conviction that 
through these mechanical processes and their ever-recur- 
ring repetition something is developed or evolved, that 
the more advanced stage is richer in this something, 
containing more of that which is of value and interest to 
us human beings. 

We may further describe the most recent phase into 

which the problem of knowledge has entered by saying 

that we are confronted by a twofold meaning of the 

62. word. Everywhere we meet with a twofold aspect, a 

the problem dualism in the nature and aims of knowledge. This 

of know- .. 

ledge. dualism has been impressed upon the modern philo- 

sophical mind in many ways, and has found expression 
in various systems of philosophy and through many 
thinkers. I will at present refer only to four distinct 
lines of thought which are conspicuous amongst others. 

The first distinct recognition of the twofold aspect of 
the philosophical problem, and also of the problem of 
knowledge, will be found in the writings of Hermann 
Lotze. He continued in Germany about the middle of 
the century the traditions of the idealistic systems as 
well as those of the Leibnizian philosophy. Although 
he did not elaborate a special theory of knowledge and 
stood somewhat isolated, belonging neither to the school 
of Herbart nor to that of the Neo-Kantians nor to the 
historical school, he revived a conception of knowledge 

by Lotze. 




suggested already in the writings of Leibniz. He recog- 
nised that a description of the phenomena of nature and 
mind would not permanently satisfy our thirst for know- 
ledge or our search after truth, but that the human 
mind would look for an explanation in addition to a 
description of things, and that the highest task of science 
in the larger sense of the word — that is, of Wissenschaft 
— would always consist in an attempt to interpret or find 
out the hidden meaning of the phenomena which lay in 
and around us. He distinctly formulated this idea by 
emphasising the all-pervading, but also the subordinate, 
rdle of mechanism, and the necessity of penetrating to 
the deeper sense or meaning of this all -pervading 
structure. In his largest and most popular work, the 
* Microcosmus,' he endeavoured to reconcile the view of 
things which was being elaborated in the natural 
sciences with the demands of the moral and emotional 
side of our nature, by trying to fix the meaning and 
significance which belongs to man and mankind within 
the larger universe, the position of the microcosm in the 

As in many other instances the progress of thought 
has been dependent on, and assisted by, the introduction 
of a new vocabulary, so again it is the merit of Lotze 
that he has raised to the rank of leading conceptions 
familiar terms which before him had only restricted 
meanings. Appreciating as he did the growing import- 
ance of the exact or mechanical treatment of all natural 
phenomena, of the world of things and events which 
surround us, he recognised, earlier probably than any 
other thinker, how the growth and diffusion of 



mechanical ideas would more and more leave out of 
consideration the existence of a different world which 
the idealistic systems had conceived as the world of 
ideas uniting and culminating in the idea of the 
Absolute. The importance of i;his other world which 
contains all that is of supreme interest to the human 
soul, the ideals of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, requires 
to be placed on an independent foundation as the realm 
of human interests appealing to the emotional and moral 
64. side of our nature. To this he gave the designation of 
S Valued'''' the world of Values or Worths,^ and he conceived it to 

1 German philosophical litera- 
ture, after having for a consider- 
able time done but scant justice to 
the originality and independence of 
Lotze's position, has latterly made 
partial amends for this neglect by 
very generally absorbing at least 
the terminology introduced by 
him into current philosophical 
language. In addition to the 
appreciative references to his 
philosophy, as the last important 
philosophical system, which are to 
be met with in the closing chapters 
both of Erdmann's 'History of 
Philosophy ' and of Kuno Fischer's 
* Exposition of Hegel's System,' we 
are mainly indebted to Falckenberg 
and Windelband for creating a re- 
newed and deeper interest in 
Lotze's writings. Shortly after the 
writer of this History had, in the 
year 1882, been obliged to state (in 
an article contributed to the ' Ency- 
clopsedia Britannica ' which has un- 
fortunately been reprinted without 
the necessary enlargement and re- 
vision in the latest, the 11th, 
edition, 1911) that Lotze's system 
had met with little criticism, a 
large literature on the subject 
sprang up in Germany, and R. 
Falckenberg wrote in 1886: "The 
most important among the post- 

Hegelian systems, that of Lotze, 
proves that the scientific spirit 
does not refuse conciliation with 
idealistic convictions on the highest 
problems, and the esteem in which 
it is everywhere held proves that a 
strong desire exists in that direc- 
tion " ('Geschichte der Neueren 
Philosophic,' Ist ed., p. 471). More 
specifically Windelband has drawn 
attention to that side of Lotze's 
teaching referred to in the text. 
"Since Lotze emphasised forcibly 
the conception of value, and placed 
it at the head also of Logic and 
Metaphysic, we meet with manifold 
attempts in the direction of a 
theory of values as a new and funda- 
mental philosophical doctrine ' 
('Geschichte der Neueren Philo- 
sophic,' closing section). And in a 
recent work ('Grosse Denker,' ed. 
E. von Aster, vol. ii. p. 376) 
Windelband still more emphatically 
says: "Historical philosophy has 
its most promising support in the 
greatest thinker whom German lat- 
ter day nineteenth century thought 
has produced, in Lotze. During 
the critical and empirical period 
he was wellnigh forgotten, as one 
among the remaining metaphy- 
sicians, and it is only recently that 
the fundamental ideas of his phil- 



be the highest object of philosophy to show forth the 
realisation of these higher interests and values through 
human thought and action in the world of things. With 
this object before him, he conceived that the processes 
of thought which, working by the methods of scientific 
research, are more and more impressing on us the exist- 
ence of an intellectual order, the so-called laws of nature, 
must be studied with a renewed interest. The philosophic 
mind is not contented to trace merely the formal connec- 
tions of ideas, but desires to show also how, in ascending 
from the lower to the higher regions of thought, those 
supreme interests are consciously or unconsciously always 
at work. In this connection he introduces two other 
conceptions defined by the terms, the validity of our 
notions and the meaning or significance of thoughts and 
things. Around these three terms of validity, meaning, 
and value,^ a new logic has sprung up which, suggested 

osophy are coming again victoriously 
forward. This indeed shows itself 
in an assimilation of these ideas by 
the critical movement. . . . It is 
in the spirit of Lotze that the 
knowledge of the Actual is handed 
over to other sciences, while the 
recognition of values is claimed for 
philosophy. The elaboration of 
these principles, due to their origin 
in the critical movement, has shown 
itself mainly in the province of 
logic. Here it is that, through the 
researches of Rickert and Lask, the 
conception of validity, coined by 
Lotze, has in its relation to em- 
pirical and metaphysical reality 
been made the central philosophical 

^ The philosopher who has most 
prominently put forward the pro- 
blem of value is Prof. .Hoflfding, 
who, I believe, has coined a new 

term : Das\ Wertungsprohlem. See 
his latest writings : ' Religions- 
Philosophic '(1901) ; Thilosophische 
Probleme' (1903); and *Moderne 
Philosophen' (1905). It is, how- 
ever, remarkable that in this, his 
original development of a distinctly 
Lotzian idea, he expresses no allegi- 
ance to Lotze, and that the treat- 
ment of Lotze in Hoflfding's ' His- 
tory of Modern Philosophy ' does 
not emphasise what to us seems 
the most important conception of 
his system. When the writer of 
this History came to Gottingen 
in the year 1860, the principal 
writings through which Lotze's 
central philosophical views became 
known (the third vol. of the ' Micro- 
cosmus' and the two vols, of the 
'System of Philosophy') had not 
appeared, and it was extremely 
difficult really to understand what 


' I! 

' t| 





first by Lotze, has been independently treated by original 
thinkers in this country.^ 

Indeed, nowhere has the change which has come over 
philosophical thought in the course of the nineteenth 
century been more conspicuous than in the science of 
Logic. According to a well-known dictum of- Kant, this 
had remained stationary for two thousand years. Shortly 
after this expression the very fact that Kant himself, in 
his first ' Critique,' introduced a section under the title 
of transcendental logic as an integral part of his theory 
of knowledge, gave rise to various attempts to remodel 
the traditional logic of the schools to which^Kant had 
65. so contemptuously referred. A real advance was, how- 
Sn?ep>io7 ever, not accomplished till Hegel boldly conceived of 
logical and metaphysical notions as forming the stages 
of the development of the Absolute — i.e., of the Spirit 
or Thought which lives and moves in the progress of 
the individual human as well as in that of the uni- 
versal mind in nature and history. This development 
gave a deeper sense or meaning to the otherwise lifeless 
forms of logic, connecting them in the dialectic process 
of thought which moved in the orderly rhythm of 
thesis, antithesis, and synthesis, as suggested already 
by Fichte. 

— to use a popular phrase — Lotze 
was driving at. The first light 
that came to the writer was an 
expression of Heinrich Ritter, 
Lotze's elder colleague, that the 
central idea of his system was 
the Werthbegriffy the conception of 
Value or Worth. Before Lotze, 
Herbart had already separated 
aesthetics and ethics from meta- 
physics by introducing the idea of 
valuation or judgments of value 

which are concerned, not with 
realities, but with the relation that 
exists between realities. From 
this view, the influence of which 
on Lotze deserves to be appreci- 
ated, Lotze's idea of a world of 
Values or Worths, as distinguished 
from a world of Things, differs in 

1 Notably by Bradley and Bos- 





This new conception of logic, which holds its position 66. 


as one of the ideals of recent philosophic thought, gave against this, 
rise to an extensive critical literature. It provoked, on 
the one side, a reaction in favour of the older purely 
formal logic, bringing the same into connection with 
psychology-; and, on the other side, various attempts to 
show that the genuine Aristotelian logic stood really 
much nearear to the demands and positions of modern 
thought than either the new dialectic or the traditional 
logic of the schools which professed to be that x)f 
Aristotle. The former movement was in Germany 
represented mainly by Beneke, the latter by Tren- 

Both in this country and in France independent 
attempts were, as we have seen, mainly in the direc- 
tion of understanding the applied logic of the exact 
sciences, not infrequently with a tacit supposition 
that the historical, notably the social, sciences should, 
or could, be submitted to similar treatment. The 
splendid results, however, which had been achieved 

^ Both these movements stood in 
opposition to the principal idea of 
Hegel's philosophy, and contributed 
to bring the latter into discredit. 
They came together in the logical 
writings of Ueberweg, who was also 
influenced by Schleiermacher. The 
latter had, like Hegel, revived the 
term dialectic, but his dialectic is 
something very different from that 
of Hegel. " Schleiermacher attacks 
the Hegelian position, that pure 
thought can have a peculiar be- 
ginning distinct from all other 
thinking, and arrives originally at 
something specially for itself. He 
teaches that in every kind of think- 
ing the activity of the reason can 
be exercised only on the basis of 

outer an,d inner perception, or 
that there can be no act without 
the ' intellectual ' and none with- 
out the * organic ' function, and 
that only a relative preponderance 
of the one or other function ex- 
ists in the different ways of think- 
ing. Agreement with existence is 
immediately given in inner per- 
ception, and is attainable immedi- 
ately also on the basis of outer 
perception. The forms of Thought, 
notion and judgment, are made 
parallel by Schleiermacher to ana- 
logous forms of real existence — the 
notion to the substantial forms and 
the judgment to actions" (Ueber- 
weg, 'System of Logic,' transl. by 
T. M. Lindsay, 1871, p. 70). 





4 I 

Lotze and 



in Germany by the historical school, under the in- 
fluence of the idealistic in combination with the 
critical spirit, attracted the attention of a few thinkers 
in this country who did not approve of the grow- 
ing mechanical philosophy. They instituted a search^ 
for the rationale of that line of thought which had 
produced abroad such an original and long -sustained 
intellectual effort. It was natural that the interest 
centred for a time in a study of Hegel, of that 
system which was supposed to contain the most 
mature expression of the logic of the mental and 
spiritual, as distinguished from the mechanical and 
naturalistic, movement of thought. 

The philosophy of Lotze, which became known in 
England through the translations of the ' Microcosmus ' 
(1885) and the * System' (1884), came at an appro- 
priate time to give to that current of thought which 
was moving away from the lines prescribed by the 
writings of Mill, a specific character somewhat different 
from the stricter Hegelianism which for a time was 
represented by Edward Caird and his school in 
Glasgow.^ The Logic of Lotze began to be studied 

distinct developments of thought in 
this country. We may distinguish 
them as the historical and the 
logical. Both were critical : the 
former studied the origin and 
genesis of Hegel's ideas, going back 
to Kant and to earlier thinkers— 
notably those of classical antiquity. 
The leading spirit in this move- 
ment was Edward Caird, whose 
Works on Kant mark an epoch 
in British thought, casting some- 
what into the shade kindred la- 
bours such as those of Ferrier 
and Martineau, who likewise m- 

^ The merit of having started on 
this search belongs to J. Hutchi- 
son Stirling, who published the 
'Secret of Hegel' in the same 
year (1865) in which Mill published 
his ' Examination of Hamilton's 
Philosophy.' This beginning of 
a European, as distinguished from 
the earlier exclusively German, in- 
terest in Hegel's philosophy was 
contemporaneous with that which 
started independently in Italy, 
mainly under the influence of 

2 The study of Hegel led to two 

in the University of Oxford in the place of Mill, and 

what is of prime importance — always in conjunction 

with the Logic of Aristotle.^ This fusion of two dis- 

troduced aspects gained by a study 
of Continental thought. The second 
undertook to elaborate the Hegelian 
programme on independent lines, a 
task distinctly formulated already 
by T. H. Green. For this purpose 
its representatives studied not so 
much the historical as the logical 
foundations of Hegel's system, 
closely scrutinising what Lotze had 
already done in that direction, mov- 
ing frequently in opposition to him, 
but with him also away from 
genuine Hegelianism. The former 
school had taken no notice of Lotze's 
writings, but subsequently formu- 
lated its opposition to the drift 
of his ideas in the first critical 
attempt which was made in this 
country to estimate the value of 
his system as a whole. This 
was done by Henry Jones in his 
' Critical Account of the Philosophy 
of Lotze' (1895). After criticising 
in the Preface what others have 
termed the " theologising " tend- 
ency of Lotze's thought, he says : 
"Lotze's investigation of thought 
has had other and more valuable 
consequences. It has led modern 
writers to investigate the nature 
of thought for themselves, with a 
result that, particularly in this 
country, there has been a remark- 
able development of logical theory 
on Lotze's own lines. I refer more 
especially to the logical works of 
Mr Bradley and Mr Bosanquet. 
. . . This development of Lotze's 
position seems to me to issue in 
its refutation ; and there are in- 
dications that the main contribu- 
tion of Lotze to philosophic 
thought, the only ultimate con- 
tribution, consists in deepening 
that Idealism which he sought to 
overthrow;" (p. xii). The quarrel, 
then, of the genuine Hegelians 

with Lotze is that "if his view of 
thought be true, . . . the power 
of that idealistic reconstruction of 
belief, which has so strongly influ- 
enced the modern mind, is entirely 
broken" (ibid., p. xi). We must 
be thankful for this clear and 
concise statement, as it is very 
helpful in trying to understand 
the aims of recent philosophical 
thought as conceived by opposite 
schools. It also leads us on 
to the metaphysical problem, of 
which I shall treat in the next 

^ The philosophical studies in the 
University of Oxford would merit a 
special historical treatment. The 
only approach to this, so far as I 
know, is to be found in an article 
by Prof. Mackenzie in the ' Revue 
de Metaphysique et de Morale,' 
which in the year 1908 published 
a series of articles aiming to re- 
present the state of philosophic 
thought in difierent countries. The 
articles are of value to such readers 
as have already a fair knowledge of 
the problems which now occupy 
philosophic thought ; but they near- 
ly all suffer through being over- 
crowded with names, and exhibit 
a prevalent tendency of such 
writings in the present day — the 
desire to do justice to everybody. 
They bear testimony to the general 
inconclusiveness of recent thought. 
I would suggest to those of my 
readers who, being outsiders like 
myself, wish to gain some idea of 
the position of one prominent side 
of philosophical thought represent- 
ed in this country by the Univer- 
sity of Oxford, to read the three 
articles on Logic contained in the 
three last editions of the ' Encyclo- 
paedia Britannica ' : the first, by 
the late Prof. R. Adamson, was 




tinct currents of thought, which in Germany were 
represented by two different schools, has helped to 
give to recent works on Logic in this country — notably 
68. to those of F. H. Bradley and B. Bosanquet — a char- 
Banquet, acter of originality and comprehensiveness which places 
them in the forefront of modern treatises on Logic and 
the theory of Knowledge. As logic has, mainly through 
their labours, fully justified its traditional position as 
an independent science, the special doctrines elaborated 
therein hardly enter into a general history of thought. 
The latter, however, has to take note of the change 
which has come over the general points of view from 
which, and the interest in which, logical science has 
been reconstructed. In this respect there are two 
points which seem to me to have a general bearing on 
the development of modern philosophical thought. 
The first refers to the breaking down of the older 

written in the year 1882, and 
in consequence does not embrace 
the more recent developments 
largely to be traced to the in- 
fluence of Lotze. As being of 
permanent value up to this point, 
it is gratifying to know that it 
has been republished. The second 
is an article published in the 
" New Volumes " just twenty years 
later (1902). This article is writ- 
ten by Prof. Case, and contains a 
very trenchant criticism of recent 
logic, which in its distinctive and 
hopeful reforms is considered by 
the author to be approaching the 
position occupied by the genuine 
Aristotelian logic in antiquity — a 
view which was held similarly by 
Trendelenburg in Germany a gen- 
eration earlier. In addition to 
the strong recommendation of 
the Aristotelian 'Organon,' it is 

strange to see the 'Novum Or- 
ganum ' of Bacon recommended 
for the study of inductive logic. 
Prominent authorities on the Con- 
tinent — such as Prof. Alois Riehl 
(see his article in ' Systematische 
Philosophic,' 1907, p. 84)— main- 
tain that this distinction does not 
belong to Bacon, "a schemer and 
dilettante," but to Galileo— a view 
initiated on the Continent by a 
celebrated pamphlet of Justus 
Liebig (1862), and destructive of 
the fable convenue of the Baconian 
method so prevalent in this coun- 
try. The third article, in the 11th 
edition (1911), is by Mr H. W. 
Blunt. It is thoroughly up to 
date, and does full justice to the 
influence of Lotze and the new era 
in the science represented mainly 
by Bradley and Bosanquet. 





separation between the form and the content of 
thought. This tendency is one of the most valuable 
bequests of the Hegelian Logic, which in this respect 
may be looked upon as the first brilliant attempt to 
carry out an idea which in Germany was kept alive 
by Lotze, and which was independently taken up at 
first hand by students of Hegel in this country. In 
both we find the desire to get at the deeper sense or 
meaning of words, terms, and symbols, to which the 
purely formal logicians, misled, not infrequently, by 
the mathematical forms of reasoning, gave exclusive 
attention. This is intimately connected with a second 
important tendency according to which units of thought 
are not to be found in distinct ideas, notions, or con- 
cepts, but in judgments; so that the older analytical 
and atomising treatment, from which even Lotze did 
not fully emancipate himself, must be abandoned in 
favour of what I have termed the synoptic treat- 
ment; all thought as well as all experience starting 
from a " Together," which is, for practical and scientific 
purposes, subjected to the processes of artificial analysis 
and subsequent synthesis. In this respect more recent 
treatment of logical theory in this country, perhaps 
even more than abroad, falls in with that general 
tendency of thought to which I have already had 
occasion to refer in earlier chapters of this History. 

Whilst Lotze was working at a new conception of 
philosophy which has since been adopted by many spencer, 
thinkers, Herbert Spencer in England, starting from 
very different beginnings, put forward a definition of 
philosophy which in some respects coincides with that 

Lotze and 




of Lotze, and which has become similarly popular. He 
sees in philosophy the complete unification of Knowledge, 
as distinct from the different sciences which afford only 
a partial unification of Knowledge. But he has paid the 
inevitable tribute to the trend of modern thought by 
introducing into the foundation of his system that 
inherent dualism which, as I said before, seems every- 
where to confront us. Continuing the traditions of 
earlier English philosophy, and influenced as much by 
Hamilton as by Mill, he draws a sharp distinction 
between the Knowable and the "Unknowable." The 
former is really only concerned with mechanical connec- 
tions, although the language in which these connections 
are expressed by Spencer retains many of the older 
attributes by which a duplex meaning is conveyed. But 
the deeper desire of arriving at an explanation and not 
merely at a description of phenomena is recognised and 
satisfied in Spencer s philosophy by acknowledging the 
existence of an unknown power which is at once the 
origin and the sustaining ground of everything. 

Through this doctrine of the Unknowable, Herbert 
SowS;.' Spencer has become the father of that School of Thought 
to which Huxley has given the pertinent name of 
" Agnosticism." 

Somewhat later than Lotze in Germany and Spencer 
in England, philosophical thought in France came 
prominently forward with contributions to the solution 
of the problem of knowledge. The most important 
among these contributions are to be found in the 
writings of Charles Kenouvier, a contemporary of Lotze, 
though his influence belongs to a much later date. In 





■ a 

the present connection it is of interest for us to note 
that Kenouvier, from an entirely different beginning, 
combats the attempt to lay down any one principle by 
which all our knowledge is governed. A complete n. 
unification of knowledge on the purely scientific basis is on iSscin- 

., , tinuity. 

not possible. 

This contention finds in Eenouvier's System a char- 
acteristic expression. He attacks the law of Continuity 
which, since the time of Leibniz, has played such an 
important part in modern Thought. According to 
Kenouvier, we are everywhere confronted with discon- 
tinuities, with new beginnings, with breaks in what we 
would fain consider the orderly development of things. 

The period during which, under the sway of the ideas 
of uniformity and continuity, science has made its 
enormous strides, will be followed by a new era of 
philosophical thought, by a new conception in which the 
idea of personality will be utilised for the explanation 
and interpretation, as opposed to the description and aiity 
construction, of the phenomenal world. 

The essence of personality is to be found in our indi- 
vidual experience and in the process of willing. The 
Will affords by analogy the key to the deeper explana- 
tion of everything. 

With this conception Kenouvier touches another and 
prominent development of modern Thought, which, no 
less than the three developments already mentioned, 
emphasises the dualism which everywhere surrounds us. 
The movement I refer to centres on the Continent in 
the philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer. It was 
prepared independently by the study of the ethical 

VOL. III. 2 D 

And Person- 







problem in the English school. Beginning with Hume, 
who significantly turned away from the fruitless attempt 
to solve the problem of Knowledge, and betook himself 
to the more fruitful study of moral, political, and 
historical questions, English thinkers have the merit of 
having established the study of morality or ethics as an 
independent philosophical discipline which has latterly 
been enlarged into the modern science of Sociology. 

The interest which led Schopenhauer to emphasise the 
problem of the Will was very different from that which 
had led or was to lead English or French thinkers. His 
aim was neither epistemological nor sociological, it was 
purely metaphysical. He desired to give what he con- 
sidered the only possible answer to the problem left over 
by Kant, as it was understood by Kant's early disciples. 
What Kant called the " Noumenon " or the " Thing in 
itself" which underlies the phenomenal world, reveals 
itself, according to Schopenhauer, in its real nature in 
our will. What Spencer more recently termed the 
Unknowable is conceived by Schopenhauer in analogy 

with the human Will. 

By emphasising the existence of the active factor, not 
only in the human mind but in the whole of nature, 
Schopenhauer perpetuated on the one side that dualism 
which exists already in Kant's philosophy between the 
theoretical and the practical reason, and on the other 
side drew attention to that region of psychology 
which had been unduly neglected by the contemporary 
systems of German philosophy, but which had been 
specially cultivated in this country— the region of the 
Emotions and the Will. Although it cannot be said that 

the ethical theories of Schopenhauer are satisfactory, 

or that they follow with necessity from the initial 

position which he takes up, there is no doubt that he 

has powerfully influenced philosophical thought on the 

Continent during the second half of the century, as I 

shall have frequent occasion to point out in the sequel. 

He thus belongs to those thinkers who have combined 74. 

to overthrow that extreme intellectualism which was of extreme 

. . Intellectual- 

characteristic of some of the prominent philosophies '^"• 

during the earlier part of the nineteenth century. It is 
now generally recognised that alongside of the problem 
of knowledge and of the intellect, the problems of 
action and of the will, including feeling and emotion, 
demand an equally independent study. The problem 
of knowledge, in the modern phase which it is passing 
through, thus leads us on to other problems, such as the 
problem of reality or the metaphysical problem, the 
problem of action or the ethical problem, and many 
more. The history of these we shall study in separate 

In the meantime my readers may expect me to sum 
up in a few words the present position of the problem 
of knowledge. This cannot be done without some risk, 
as the discussions referring to this subject are very 
diverse, indicating the unsettled position of opinion in 
this matter. 

Nevertheless it seems to me that the following may 
be said with some approach to accuracy, though I cannot 
point, in the very extensive literature, to any single and 
promment writer who has given expression to the view 
we are historically led to. It seems to me that the 






problem of knowledge, at the end of the century, is 
narrowed down to the distinction between certainty and 


Up to the middle of the century the conception of 
exact knowledge grew in importance with the growth 
and diffusion of the scientific spirit. To many thinkers 
it may have appeared as if the definiteness and exacti- 
tude which increasingly characterises natural knowledge 
carries with it the impress of certitude, and might, in 
due course, lead to that certainty of conviction which we 
are seeking to attain in questions of conduct, and as the 
foundation of a reasoned creed and a system of MoraUty. 

The later developments of scientific or exact know- 
ledge, the spread of the mathematical spirit, and the 
criticism of the foundations of the mathematical and 
mechanical sciences, have not reaUsed this expectation. 

More and more it has become evident not only that 
the mechanical view does not satisfy us as an explanation 
of things, but that its character of being exact, definite, 
and accurate does not include the feature of certainty. 
Lotze would call it eine Gemuths-sache ; Kenouvier, uu 

affaire passionelle. 

If knowledge is limited to that which is defined with 
exactitude, it appears to be doomed to be hypothetical, 
provisional, and uncertain. 

This forces upon us the conclusion that we must seek 
for certainty in a different direction, that the foundations 
of our convictions must lie elsewhere, or that we must 
extend the meaning of the word Knowledge beyond the 
narrow and shifting region of that which can be clearly 

li i 

f ! 





History of philosophy shows us several instances when i. 
the philosophical mind started on new beginnings, initi- ?iogy and 

4. • 1 ff 1 o o » systems of 

atmg a new phase of thought, by attempting a fresh Philosophy, 
solution of the problem of knowledge. The statement 
that before taking up the important problems of philo- 
sophic thought it is necessary to settle the method and 
define the way by which we may hope to attain to their 
solution, has been repeatedly put forward both in ancient 
and modern times. Thus we find that in many in- 
stances philosophical systems have been introduced by 
preliminary discussions, of which the Organon of Aris- 
totle, the Novum Organum of Bacon, the Discourse on 
method of Descartes, the Critique of Kant, and, to some 
extent, the First Principles of Herbert Spencer, furnish 
well-known examples.^ Their object was to define the 

It must, however, be noted that 
the search after first principles of 
1 bought has, in modem times, ac- 
quired a different aspect from that 

fT ^^^T-i*.,^''^^^^^^^ i^ Antiquity or 
the Middle Ages ; and this is owing 
to the fact that the pioneers in 
modern philosophy, both Bacon and 

Descartes, could refer to or build 
upon a certain amount of generally 
admitted and accepted knowledge, 
that of the mathematical and me- 
chanical sciences which, as it were, 
did not require any preliminary 
discourse for their recommendation. 
The epistemological investigations of 








starting-point and to justify the methods of advance 
which were to be adopted. At the end of the century 
which precedes the period we are dealing with this was 
done with much detail and patience and unexampled com- 
pleteness by Immanuel Kant ; his philosophy has accord- 
ingly been rightly and consistently termed Criticism, and 
the nineteenth century itself has marked its indebted- 
ness to Kant, and to the thinkers who immediately 
preceded him, nowhere more than by continually and 
repeatedly urging the necessity of a theory of knowledge. 
And yet it can hardly be maintained that those systems 
which have had the deepest influence and have marked 
the great eras of philosophic thought are exclusively 
characterised by that cautious and critical spirit which 
would not venture on any bold generalisation without a 
previous patient examination. It is not always to the 
careful and accurate surveyor ; often it is rather to the 
daring explorer of an unknown country that we owe the 
greatest discoveries, the enlargement of our knowledge 
and the revolution of our views. Though we must admit 
that the critical spirit, which during the last fifty years 
has acquired an almost undisputed sway over all but 
the purely exact and experimental sciences, favours the 

philosophical thought on a similarly 
secure foundation. Accordingly 
we find that scientific authorities 
themselves show, as a rule, little 
interest in the philosophy of their 
respective sciences. The wide- 
spread modern interest in scientific 
first principles is not purely scien- 
tific, it centres in the question : To 
what extent are they capable of 
supporting a moral and spiritual 
view of things ? 

Bacon, Descartes, Locke, and Kant, 
referred, therefore, not to knowledge 
in general but more exclusively to 
philosophical knowledge ; scientific 
knowledge being considered as firmly 
established, in fact, frequently as a 
model of true knowledge. Investi- 
gations as to the hidden and un- 
conscious principles which guided 
such exact knowledge have latterly 
been undertaken, not so much in 
the interests of science itself as 
rather with the intention of placing 


Some sys- 

cautious way of proceeding which I allude to, we are at 
the same time bound to acknowledge that this period 
is poor in creative efforts and new aspects of thought, 
and that to the small extent that such have made their 
appearance, they stand outside of, and sometimes in 
opposition to, the orderly movement of thought being ^ms%tert 

. o » & with theories 

frequently stigmatised by representatives of the latter as ^^^^^^^y. 
unscientific and uncritical.-^ 

In recent times this difference, which we may call the 
difference between the critical and the dogmatic attitude, 
has been much influenced by the requirements of aca- 
demic instruction. This has variously laid the greater 
stress upon one of the two requisites of higher culture : 
the imparting, on the one side, of a strict mental dis- 

^ Examples of this are to be 
found in all the three countries, 
but most in Germany. During the 
last fifty years three names have 
risen to celebrity in philosophical 
literature, which, in the beginning, 
were either neglected or denounced 
and even violently denied a place 
by the ruling philosophy of the age. 
They are : Schopenhauer, von Hart- 
mann, and Nietzsche. All three 
gained a considerable influence over 
the philosophic thought of their age 
and country before adequate notice 
was taken of their writings in aca- 
demic circles or in some of the prom- 
ment works on History of Modern 
Philosophy. There is, however, no 
doubt that Schopenhauer contri- 
buted, probably more than any 
other mdividual thinker, to counter- 
act a one-sided Intellectualism, to 
prepare the way for that Voluntar- 
ism which is a characteristic feature 
of recent thought. Von Hartmann's 
reputation has latterly rested more 
on his critical and historical writ- 
ings, some of which are of the first 
order, than on the idea of the 

Unconscious which played such a 
prominent part in his earliest work. 
And, so far as Nietzsche is con- 
cerned, it is interesting to note 
that he has, after being violently 
proclaimed unphilosophic, gained 
at last a place among the ' Grosse 
Denker ' (ed. E. von Aster, 2 vols. 
1912), an honour not vouchsafed to 
thinkers like Comte, Lotze, or 
Spencer. In France, leaving out 
such eccentric thinkers as, e.g., 
Saint -Simon and Proudhon, we 
have, in recent times, the remark- 
able writings of Jean Marie Guyau ; 
and, in this country, a group of 
writers who have had a marked in- 
influeuce on philosophic thouglit, 
though the fundamental principles 
of their teaching are so little defined 
that it is difficult to do them justice 
in an account of the methodical 
philosophical thought of the cen- 
tury. They are : Coleridge, Carlyle, 
and Ruskin. A real appreciation 
of their views belongs to the sec- 
tion which should treat of poetical 
and religious thought. 

! r 




Interests of 





and of prac- 
tical life. 

; ! 


cipline and, on the other side, the establishment of 
leading aspects of thought, whereby firstly to gain know- 
ledge, and secondly to grasp and organise it. During 
the first half of the nineteenth century so many new 
fields of research were opened out, especially on the 
Continent, by the labours of the Academies and Univer- 
sities, that the necessity was felt of gathering the newly 
accumulated knowledge into systems and of organising 
it under leading ideas. Accordingly it was the age of 
the great scientific systems of the mathematicians and 
naturalists in France, and of the equally celebrated 
systems of philosophy in Germany. Academic teaching 
then emphasied, perhaps unduly, the constructive ideas 
which governed those systems. Gradually, however, the 
critical spirit acquired a mastery over the dogmatic and 
constructive spirit. The necessity was felt of sifting the 
existing knowledge, much of which proved to be in- 
correct ; also of examining the leading ideas and theo- 
retical aspects under which it had been organised. 
Many of the conclusions which had been drawn 
appeared premature, and some of them dangerous. 
Theoretical and systematic teaching acquired accord- 
ingly much more caution and circumspection, and this 
tendency has been encouraged and strengthened by 
another influence which has made itself increasingly 
felt in quite recent times. 

This is the practical influence : the demands of actual 
life with its specific problems and difficulties. Every- 
where these have made themselves felt, though in the 
different countries in different ways. The German 
Universities which, during the first half of the century, 



' r. 

had elaborated the ideal of Wissenschaft, i.e., of science 
and erudition combined, — the union of the exact and the 
historical spirit, — have more and more become obliged 
to train specialists in definite branches of knowledge; 
and these specialists, who in earlier times were mostly 
occupied with purely theoretical or learned work, 
have latterly become largely practical experts, for 
whom professional experts have had to make room. In 
France the two great schools, the ficole Polytechnique 
and the £cole Normale, assumed more and more the 
leadership in higher education, which was for a time 
exclusively identified with instruction.^ 

In England the two older Universities had, in 
modern times, never aimed at that universality and 
completeness of learning which is the ideal of the 
German University, having always put in the fore- 
ground the imparting of a liberal education,^ which 
appeared indispensable to those who would occupy high 
positions in the Church, in the State, or in professional 
or social life. Accordingly we do not find that at the 
latter — i.e., at the English Universities — any comprehen- 
sive teaching of philosophy existed at all. To the Scottish 
Universities belongs, almost alone in this country, the 
credit of having kept alive the philosophical tradition in 
academic teaching. This has had the result that, in 
England at least, the higher branches of philosophy 
were for a considerable time cultivated almost exclus- 
ively outside the schools and, in consequence, with only 
a subordinate regard for the requirements of teaching or 

^^^See vol. i. of this History, p. 

2 See ibid., pp. 255 and 262. 

/I. I 




for systematic unity and completeness. On the other 
side, whatever of theoretical and systematic philosophy 
existed in this country, stood in close connection with 
the practical interests and the social demands of the 


In France the teaching of philosophy had to accom- 
modate itself to the demands of the higher schools, 
which were, at that time, under the influence of the 

^ On this point see the account 
given by M. Ribot in the year 
1877 C Mind,' vol. ii. p. 382 sqq.) 
"The Courses at the Lycees and 
Colleges (secondary instruction) are 
much less free than those of the 
Faculties (superior instruction), 
since they are not addressed to 
men but to youths preparing for 
an examination, and must besides 
keep within the one programme 
drawn up for the whole country. 
The professor is closely watched 
by the Faculties, the State, the 
bishops, and the families. Thus 
an oflBcial philosophy is formed 
which is rigorously orthodox. It 
has unvarying solutions for all 
problems, a fixed number of proofs 
of the existence of God and of the 
immortality of the Soul, &c., &c. ; 
a student who does not answer in 
conformity with the programme is 
rejected. The consequence is that 
many think one thing and say an- 
other. I must add that the same 
is often true of their masters, 
though it is only fair to acknow- 
ledge that latterly many young pro- 
fessors have endeavoured to intro- 
duce the new doctrines under the 
form of historical expositions and 
discussions. Many of the students 
in our Lycees know something of 
the Logic of Stuart Mill and of the 
Psychology of Bain and Spencer, 
but the heads of Spiritualism are 

little in favour of these innovations. 
Spiritualism, such is, in fact, the 
name of this official philosophy. It 
would be useless to dwell at length 
on this doctrine which has reigned 
amongst us for fifty years, and 
which consists in a collection of 
opinions founded on common -sense, 
and adapted to the religious beliefs 
of the majority. If we extract 
from the different religions subsist- 
ing in Europe the common basis 
that is called Deism or natural 
religion, and deduce from this 
Deism the theology, the morals, and 
the psychology which it involves, 
we shall have Spiritualism ; the rest 
is only matter of detail. It is a 
timorous, a fearful doctrine, that 
abhors all disturbance, and is very 
compliant to the clergy ; many of 
its supporters are avowed Catholics 
(p. 384). Those who are interested 
to see the difficulties of steering a 
middle course between Roman 
Catholicism on the one side and 
German Idealism on the other, re- 
sulting in a species of Cartesianism, 
should read the 'Life of Victor 
Cousin,' by Barth^lemy-Saint Hil- 
aire (3 vols., 1895). In his in- 
teresting * Rapport,' already re- 
ferred to, M. Ravaisson said, in 
the year 1868, somewhat propheti- 
cally : " A bien des signes, il est 
permis de pre voir comme peu ^loig- 
n^ une ^poque philosophique done 



The teaching of philosophy in Germany has of late, 
through the growth of the scientific and industrial 
spirit, moved somewhat towards that position which has 
always existed in England. This we may define by 
saying that the solution of the highest philosophical 
problems must be found, not in and through the schools, 
but outside of them, under the practical influences of 
life. To this end the work of the schools can only 
be preparatory and introductory. But that such pre- 
paration must be complete, circumspect, and systematic, 
and not casual and fragmentary, this the English 
Universities have learned in modern times largely 
through acquaintance with and appreciation of the 
German systems and method. 

Tn the course of the nineteenth century the position 
of philosophy, as an element of culture and a subject of 
higher teaching, has thus undergone two great changes. 
The failure of the constructive systems first of all im- 
pressed lastingly on the thinking mind the necessity 
of bringing philosophic discussions into immediate con- 
tact with the methods and the results of the special 
sciences. We now hear it proclaimed that no thinker 
is quaHfied to deal with the great problems of philo- 
sophy who has not been trained and disciplined through 
some special research where he has practised the true 
methods of inquiry, be they exact or critical; pref- 

le caract^re gdn^ral serait la pre- 
dominance de ce qu'on pourrait 
appeier un r^alisme ou positivisme 
spiritualiste, ayant pour principe conscience que I'esprit 
prend en lui-meme d'une existence 
dont il reconnait que toute autre 
existence derive et depend, et qui 


1 ' * I 

n'est autre que son action" (p. 

In the light of the development 
of philosophical thought during the 
last fifty years, especially in France, 
the last pages are well worth read- 

I ■ ■■ 







of Meta- 

erence being usually given to the exact methods. 
This is equivalent to saying that the best preparation 
for the philosopher is to be found in the training of 
the scientific expert or learned specialist. And in 
quite recent times a further step has been taken, 
inasmuch as it is being more and more recognised that 
an acquaintance with the practical objects of life, a 
familiarity — in some form or other — with the actual 
work that goes on around us, is indispensable as a pre- 
paration for higher speculation : assuming that this is to 
be of real use to humanity and to the furtherance of 
culture. The one - sided influence which the much 
vaunted training of the scientific specialist exerts has 
to be balanced by the very different interests and 
methods which govern practical work and application. 
In passing I may remark that here again we are only 
reviving views which are as old as philosophy itself; 
that Plato had already proclaimed geometry as the best 
training for the philosopher, and that philosophy with 
him was not a purely theoretical occupation. 

All the different changes which I refer to, work in the 
direction of bringing discredit upon that central branch 
of philosophy which is usually termed Metaphysics; so 
much so that we find it frequently stated that no 
definite branch of knowledge exists which deserves this 
name. Scientific, religious, and practical interests have 
combined in denouncing metaphysics as a useless occupa- 
tion, as an undertaking which has no foundation and 
method, no beginning and no end. Some have tried to 
save the dignity of philosophy by giving to the word 
quite a different meaning from that which it originally 


had, identifying it, for instance, with the theory of know- 
ledge or with some branch of psychology. It is, of course, 
needless to fight over words. Still the existence and 
the continual reintroduction of a term which we thought 
discarded shows that it covers some meaning and has 
some significance. Many passages might be collected 

from recent writers — Continental as well as British 

where the word metaphysic is used although the exist- 
ence of such a thing is denied. It is more useful to 
observe how in Germany lectures on Metaphysics have 
become rare at the Universities; but that nevertheless 
philosophical literature shows there, though perhaps to a 
smaller extent than it has done during the last genera- 
tion in this country and in France,! a tendency to 

^ In general it may be stated that 
the revival of the interest in meta- 
physics commenced in France and 
in this country just at the time 
when in Germany it had almost 
entirely disappeared. So far as 
British philosophy is concerned, the 
change which has come over philo- 
sophical thought is shown, for in- 
stance, in two treatises on Meta- 
physics which appeared respectively 
m the 8th and the 9th editions of 
the ' Encyclopaedia Britannica,' both 
by thinkers of the first order, repre- 
senting definite schools of thought. 
The earlier one was written in the 
year 1857 by H. L. Mansel (1820- 
18/ 1), a pupil of Sir Wm. Hamilton ; 
the latter by Edward Caird (1835- 
1908), the centre of the independent 
Hegelian movement of thought, in 
1883. Both articles are important 
treatises, from very different points 
of view. In the earlier article Meta- 
physics IS mainly concerned with 
psychology; the ontological problem, 
or the problem of reality, receives 
only subordinate treatment— in fact, 

the principal metaphysical problem 
as treated in the present chapter 
is, by Mansel, thrust beyond the 
limits of philosophical speculation^ 
and philosophy is reduced to pure 
phenomenalism which, according ta 
this view, has to be supplemented 
in the acceptance by faith of re- 
vealed truth; a position from 
which it required only one step 
to the philosophy of the Un- 
knowable of Herbert Spencer. 
This extreme development of a 
view v/hich originated in the school 
of Hamilton, and which was more 
popularly explained in Mansel's 
' Bampton Lectures,' reacted as 
much in the direction of phenomen- 
alism and naturalism as it did on 
the other side in the direction of a 
transcendentalism modelled very- 
much on the Hegelian type. The 
latter is, together with the History 
of Metaphysics, expounded in a 
concise and masterly manner fin 
Caird's article, reprinted in the 
second volume of his 'Essays on 
Literature and Philosophy ' (1892). 








«. revive those inquiries which were once termed meta- 
Mete^* ° physical, and which for some time had been neglected 






; V 

and wellnigh forgotten.-^ 

It is significant to see how in the 
later editions of the ' Encyclopsedia 
Britannica,' as was the case with 
Logic so also in Metaphysics, the 
Aristotelian predilections of the 
Oxford school have again asserted 
themselves. The article on the 
subject by Prof. T. Case opens 
with the following significant sen- 
tence : " Side by side with psy- 
chology, the science of mind, and 
with logic, the science of reasoning, 
metaphysics is tending gradually to 
assert its ancient Aristotelian posi- 
tion as the science of being in 
general. Not long ago, in Eng- 
land at all events, metaphysics was 
merged in psychology. But with 
the decline of dogmatic belief and 
the spread of religious doubt about 
the creation and government of the 
world ; as the special sciences also 
grow more general and the natural 
sciences become more speculative 
about matter and force, evolution 
and teleology ; men begin to wonder 
a,gain, like the Greeks, about the 
nature and origin of things, and 
half unconsciously discover that 
they are metaphysicians. Nor 
must we expect any great differ- 
ence between the old and the new 
methods of dealing with these pro- 
blems when the causes have been 

In France the revival of meta- 
physics may be traced to the influ- 
ence of Renouvier and Jules 
Lachelier (1832-1875). Like Ham- 
ilton and Caird in this country, 
Renouvier and Lachelier were 
influenced by the Criticism of 
Kant. It is interesting to note 
also that France alone possesses 
since 1893 a periodical which 
prominently puts forward the meta- 
physical interest : the * Revue de 
Metaphyaique et de Morale.' 

^ So far as Germany is concerned, 
the metaphysical interest in the 
sense of ontology was kept alive 
for a considerable period almost 
exclusively by the philosophy of 
Lotze, and the revival of this in- 
terest attaches itself significantly 
to a renewed study and ap- 
preciation of Lotze's position, 
especially of his doctrine of valid- 
ity and value. To understand 
the most recent movements of 
thought in this direction we may 
consult two publications to which 
I have referred on former occa- 
sions. The first is the Kuno 
Fischer 'Festschrift' (1904), the 
second the * Systematische Philo- 
sophie ' (1907). The former con- 
tains no chapter on Metaphysics, 
the latter contains a chapter on 
Metaphysics by W. Wundt : against 
this the former contains a chapter 
on * Philosophy of Religion' by 
Troltsch ; in the other this sub- 
ject is wanting. But the article 
by Windelband on Logic in the 
earlier work is important as show- 
ing how the treatment of the 
problem of knowledge is gradually 
leading over to the metaphysical 
problem of reality (* Festschrift,' 
vol. i. p. 183 sqq.). In the latter 
work we find in the chapter on 
Metaphysic no reference to the 
problem of reality and the truly 
Real. Metaphysics is there treated 
as poetical, dialectical, or critical, 
and, as examples of these three 
aspects which run through ancient 
and modern philosophy, we are sur- 
prised to find Haeckel as repre- 
senting poetical and Ostwald dia- 
lectical metaphysics, whereas Mach ^ 
is selected as representing tne 
critical position. In reference to 
the recent history of Metaphysics, 
the name of Lotze does not occur, 

In the present instance I propose to use the word 7. 
Metaphysics to denote all those investigations and dis- tife wofZ ""^ 
cussions which refer to the problem of Eeality. It is 
the central problem of philosophy, a problem not treated 
specially and prominently by any other branch of philo- 
sophic thought nor in any one of the different sciences. 
It is true that the metaphysic of the schools used to be 
divided into three distinct parts: of these the first, 
termed Ontology, dealt with Being or Eeality in 
general; whilst the second, termed Cosmology, dealt 
with the Universe or the outer world; and the third, 
termed Psychology, dealt with the Soul or the inner world. 
As it is now generally admitted that questions referring 
to the outer world, to nature and to the Universe, can- 
not be answered except on the foundation of natural 
knowledge, nor those referring to the inner world or the 
Soul otherwise than on the basis of Empirical Psy- 
chology, there remains as the specific problem of Meta- 
physics and the central problem of Philosophy, the 
question concerning Eeality, or, what we may call real.^ 

though the formal task of philo- 
sophy is defined by Wundt (p. 133), 
as likewise by Paulsen (see his 
'Einleitung in die Philosophie,' 
P- 2), very much in the words 
used by Lotze fifty years ago (see 
Lotze, 'Diktate, &c.,' ' Logik,' p. 
85). The view that Metaphysics 
and Philosophy have not only the 
formal problem of the unification 
of knowledge to solve, but that 
they have to interpret reality, to 
show the meaning of things, and 
that they, therefore, find their 
ultimate ground m Ethics— an idea 
contamed already in Lotze's * Meta- 
Physik ' of the year 1841 (p. 329)— 
18 not referred to in this most re- 


cent deliverance of a leading repre- 
sentative of 'German philosophical 

^ The earlier work of Lotze on 
* Metaphysik ' published in the year 
1841 is'purely ontological, and deals, 
in three sections, with Reality, with 
Appearance, and with the Validity 
of Knowledge. This work was fol- 
lowed by a Treatise on Logic (1843). 
The substance of both these earher 
Treatises, which preceded the physio- 
logical, psychological, and anthropo- 
logical writings of Lotze, through 
which he became known in wider 
circles, was incorporated after an 
interval of thirty years in his 
* System of Philosophy' published 






8. And here it is well to note that the word real was 
of Reality, already in ancient philosophy, notably in that of Plato, 
used to denote that which is opposed to the merely 
apparent, and that it received an even greater accentu- 
ation by the introduction of the term, the truly real. In 
the first instance, then, if we speak of Eeality, we do not 
merely place it in opposition to that which is non-extant, 
the nothing which is the negation of existence, but we 
place it in opposition to that which seems to exist, but 

during the 'Seventies. In the 
'System,' Logic precedes Meta- 
physic, but the treatment of both 
subjects is much enlarged, the 
Logic by the treatment of applied 
Logic, the Metaphysic by an ap- 
plication of ontological principles 
to cosmological and psychological 
problems. This elaboration of the 
original programme, from which 
Lotze did not materially deviate, 
is contemporaneous with the cleai-er 
definition of the principles and 
methods of the exact and natural 
sciences to which the philosophi- 
cal literature in all the three 
countries contributed during the 
fifth, sixth, and seventh decades of 
the century. The change also in 
the position of Logic and Meta- 
physics in the arrangement of 
Lotze's ' System ' indicates the de- 
cline of the influence of Hegel, 
which was more prominent in 
Lotze's earlier writings. It is to 
be regretted that Lotze never gave 
an adequate treatment of the 
ethical problem to which he points 
back in his earlier Metaphysics, and 
forward as intended to form a 
portion of the third and concluding 
part of the 'System.' In many 
earlier works on Metaphysics we 
meet with a section entitled 
Rational Theology. This has 
dropped out of Lotze's 'Meta- 
physik.' His attitude to such ques- 

tions may be gathered from the 
introduction to his ' Diktate ; Re- 
ligionsphilosophie' (1882) : "Could 
religious truth be found entirely 
through human reasoning, philo- 
sophy would be the organ for its 
definition and exposition. Could 
it, on the contrary, not be found 
through reasoning, but required an 
outer or inner revelation, philo- 
sophy would still have a task to 
perform : it would have to show 
in what connection the revealed 
content stood with other of our 
opinions, demands, and duties. 
Lastly the hopeless view, that 
religion is only a psychologically 
explainable error, could only then 
be held if philosophy could first 
give us the truth about the super- 
sensuous world ; for then only 
could it be shown why psycho- 
logical processes, in consequence of 
the course they take, must neces- 
sarily miss such truth. For itself 
alone, however, the historical origin 
of any conception can never decide 
as to its correctness. The object 
of our investigations will thus be : 
first to find out how much reason 
by itself can tell us regarding the 
supersensuous world ; further, to 
what extent a revealed religious 
content can be brought into con- 
nection with these fundamental 



which, on closer examination, reveals itself as merely 
apparent. In the second instance we make a distinction 
between that which, though possessed of reality, does not 
seem to us to have the true or full reality. We thus 
introduce the conception of a higher and a lower reality 
or of degrees of reality. These distinctions are not 
merely logical or metaphysical quibbles, but carry with 
them a deep meaning which pervades all the higher 
forms of thought and which finds expression in the 
language and literature of all civilised nations. In 
poetry as well as in prose, in science as well as in 
popular Hterature, we are continually brought face to 
face with two problems: we are asked to distinguish 
appearance from reality, that which merely seems to be 
from that which is; and among those things which 
are real and actually exist we are asked to distinguish 
those which have a higher and fuller reality from those 
which are poorer in reality. Thus, to give examples, 
we distinguish the real movement of the sun or planets 
from their apparent movement; the real events and 
facts of life from the merely apparent ones presented in 
a dream or in fiction, the true colours and dimensions 
of an object from those which, owing to the imper- 
fections or distance of view, are merely apparent. And 
on the other side, some things have for us more reality 
than others ; thus wealth and possessions may be more 
or less real than fame and honours, mind may be 
more or less real than matter, and there are probably 
few persons who would not admit that goodness or 
"the Good" is the highest reality of all; though they 
niay differ in their conceptions of the nature of good- 
VOL. III. 2 g 








ness and as to where its supreme existence is to be 

That these aspects of Keality, these different meanings 
of the word " real," constitute the central and everlasting 
problem of philosophic thought, can be gathered, inter 
alia, from the fact that the oldest among the great 
systems of philosophy that have influenced speculation 
ever since, that of Plato, had already coined simple terms 
wherewith to express these meanings, and that they 
form the subject of elaborate discussion in the latest 
prominent metaphysical treatise published in this 
country — Mr Bradley's ' Appearance and Reality/ Thus, 
however often metaphysical discussions have been de- 
nounced as aimless and futile, the problem of reaHty has 
survived all vicissitudes of opinion ; and its questions : 
What is Reality ? What is the truly Real ? will occupy 
the human mind, again and again, as long as it is capable 
of elevated thought.^ 

^ The earliest discussion of the 
problem of reality in its threefold 
meaning expressed by the terms, the 
Real (t6 Of), the Unreal (t^ /xt] 6v), 
and the truly Real (rh ovtms 6v), is 
to be found in the Platonic Dialogue, 
' The Sophist,' and Benj. Jowett, in 
his Introduction to the translation 
of this Dialogue, has brought the 
treatment of the problem into 
juxtaposition with that of Hegel. 
Through the latter, indeed, the 
problem passed into its more 
recent forms, one of which, that 
adopted by Lotze, identifies the 
truly Real with that which has 
value or worth ; whereas another, 
that of Mr Bradley, deals with the 
problem in the doctrine of ' Degrees 
of Reality ' (see his ' Appearance and 
Reality,' chap, xxiv.) It is inter- 
esting to reaid in the Introduction 

to this work the following state- 
ment, very much in the tone of 
the passage quoted from Lotze in 
the last note: "The man who is 
ready to prove that metaphysical 
knowledge is wholly impossible ha» 
no right ... to any answer. . . . 
He is a brother metaphysician, with 
a rival theory of first principles. 
And this is so plain that I must 
excuse myself from dwelling on the 
point. To say the reality is such 
that our knowledge cannot reach 
it, is a claim to know reality; to 
urge that our knowledge is of a 
kind which must fail to transcend 
appearance itself implies that tran- 
scendence. For if we had no idea 
of a Beyond, we should assuredly 
not know how to talk about failure 
or success. And the test, by which 
we distinguish them, must obvi- 

In the last chapter I have shown how the philosophy 
of Kant has influenced all discussions bearing upon the 
problem of knowledge which have appeared during the 
nineteenth century. The modern theory of knowledge 
seems to centre in Kant. I have now to report that 
Kant occupies a similarly central position with regard o. 
to the problem of reality. In fact, Kant's immediate f ol- p^^ou^ of 


lowers, and among them certainly those who exercised, ^^^^'^ 
at the time, the greatest influence on philosophic and 
general thought abroad, made the problem of reality the 
most prominent theme of their speculations. With them 
philosophy became again dogmatic and assertive, instead 
of remaining critical as Kant had desired it to be. The 
critical side of the new doctrine was cultivated by some of 
the less known disciples of Kant, and was raised to the 
prominence which it deserves only after the constructive 
effort had seemingly exhausted itself — i.e., since the middle 
of the century. With this change of interests which, as 
I have shown before, had a deeper historical meaning 
beyond the region of philosophical speculation, the 

ously be some acquaintance with 
the nature of the goal. Nay, the 
would-be sceptic, who presses on us 
the contradictions of our thoughts, 
himself asserts dogmatically. For 
these contradictions might be ulti- 
mate and absolute truth, if the 
nature of the reality were not known 
to be otherwise." No better proof 
could be given of the renewed in- 
terest which the problem of reality 
commands than the remarkable ap- 
preciation of Mr Bradley's own 
^ork, as shown by the appearance 
m less than ten years of four edi- 
tions and the important literature 
which deals with it (see the 10th 
ea. of Ueberweg's 'Grundriss,' 

part iv., p. 524). It is significant 
that this literature is almost en- 
tirely English and American. The 
student of Lotze cannot help being 
reminded, almost at every turn of 
Mr Bradley's many-sided argument, 
of sundry passages as well as of the 
general tone of Lotze's writings. 
If, and as, the study of Lotze is 
resumed in his own country, there 
is no doubt that the important 
philosophical writings of the Oxford 
school will have to be appreciated 
in their orginality: a beginning of 
this is to be found in the closing 
chapter by Windelband in ' Grosse 
Denker' (vol. ii.) 









; I i : 



critical spirit revived, metaphysics being thrust into 
the background. Theories of knowing became more 
attractive than theories of being, Epistemology usurped 
the place of Ontology. In spite of this reaction the 
first half of the nineteenth century, and the systems 
which succeeded Kant's doctrine, deserve the credit of 
having elaborated certain views as to the problem of 
reality which are of lasting value, having left their mark 
on philosophic thought in the literature of all the three 

One of the reasons why Kant, whether he intended it 
or not, became the leader in metaphysics as well as in the 
theory of knowledge, may be found in a circumstance 
on which I have had frequent occasion to lay stress. 
Kant enriched our metaphysical vocabulary,^ he coined 
certain words to denote deeper -lying conceptions, he 
defined what had been vague, and he brought into 
currency terms which for a long time exerted an in- 
fluence, not to say a spell, over philosophical reason- 

^ The Kantian vocabulary has not 
only enriched philosophical thought 
ever since, but it has also created 
new difficulties and perplexities 
and increased those that existed 
before. Accordingly it has been the 
subject of much writing and many 
expositions. English readers will 
find the best introduction to the 
subject — as least, so far as the 
theoretical philosophy is concerned 
— in an excellent article on " Kant's 
Terminology" in Baldwin's 'Dic- 
tionary of Philosophy and Psy- 
chology ' (3 vols., 1901, &c.) It is 
written by Josiah Royce, who 
contributes a similar article on 
Hegel's Terminology. In that ar- 
ticle will be found references to 

all the important German writers 
on the subject, including Eucken's 
little tract on 'History of Philo- 
sophical Terminology,' referred to 
above (see supra^ p. 238 note ; also 
vol. i. p. 21). The analysis of 
Kant's vocabulary began almost 
immediately after the appearance 
of his writings, the earliest work 
to take up the task being Mellin's 
'Dictionary' (6 vols., 1797). AU 
important later works on Kant— 
notably those of the Neo-Kantians 
in Germany and of Edward Caird 
in this country — contain elaborate 
explanations; and yet Royce can 
say that "a thorough history of 
Kant's terminology is still to be 

ing. One of these terms was "the Thing in itself," 
another was " the Categorical Imperative." These two 
terms ^x, as it were, Kant's position with regard to 
the two main problems of reality, his answers to the 
two questions. What is Keal? and What is the truly 
Eeal ? 

To begin with the first, with " the Thing in itself." lo. 
When Kant analysed our knowledge of things which S'ftsei^^^ 
we call real, he not only, with Locke, discarded as 
apparent and purely subjective the secondary qualities, 
dependent upon the nature of our senses, but he also 
discarded the primary qualities, the space which things 
occupy and the time during which events happen, as 
arising out of the form of our perceiving intellect. 
Depriving thus what seemed to be external realities, 
the phenomena of nature, both of their secondary and 
their primary qualities, treated as mere appearance, there 
remained over only an indefinable something by which 
real things were distinguished from purely subjective 
images. This something we can, according to Kant, 
only conceive by thought, we cannot perceive it. It 
was a Noumenon in distinction from the Phenomenon ; 
the former he termed " the Thing in itself," or " Things 
in themselves," in opposition to the Thing or Things as 
they appear.^ This is equivalent to saying that ex- 

A concise and lucid history of 
.u influence of the conception of 
the 'Thing in itself and its cog- 
nate but not synonymous designa- 
tions as the Noumenon, the trans- 
cendental object or the x of the 
Kantian philosophy, is to be found 
in Wmdelband's ' History of Phil- 
osophy ' (§ 41) frequently referred 

to already. Jacobi's pertinent re- 
marks, made so early as 1787 
('Werke,' vol. ii. p. 304), "that 
without this assumption he was un- 
able to enter the system, and with 
it unable to remain inside of it," 
indicates the difficulty of thinking 
of something of which we know 
nothing. Accordingly the Kantian 

/. V 



istence is the only thing we know about the reality 
of things, and that all detailed information which we 
possess about them is mere appearance, originating in 
the nature of our senses and the forms of our intellect. 
It has frequently been observed that this way of 
stating the problem of reality involves a latent con- 
tradiction, inasmuch as of a thing regarding which 
we know absolutely nothing, we cannot even maintain 
its existence. The same objection has been raised in 
more recent times against the statement of Herbert 
Spencer, who, in a more direct way than Kant before 
him, asserts the existence of the Unknowable, and 
places this at the entrance of his philosophy .^ 

position was unstable and, as Win- 
delband has shown, led to two 
separate developments : the first, 
that indicated by Jacobi as un- 
avoidable and necessary, was to 
throw this conception of an un- 
knowable Thing in itself overboard 
and resort to pure Idealism, as 
was done in various ways by 
Fichte and his successors, who all 
took great pains to show how 
Kant's position was untenable. 
The second was to endow the 
empty '.idea of a Thing in itself, 
the X of the Kantian philosophy, 
with a definite meaning, whilst 
maintaining in substance the Kant- 
ian argument. The way to accom- 
plish this had been indicated already 
by Fichte as well as by another 
philosopher of the Kantian school, 
Fr. Bouterwek (1766-1828), and 
was, without appreciation of either, 
consistently followed up by Scho- 
penhauer. Thus the pure idea of 
reality either lapses into nothing- 
ness, the Unreal, or it acquires a 
higher meaning as the truly Real. 
It either degenerates, as Windel- 
band says, " into a quasi-rudiment- 
ary organ without any function in 

the body of thought," or it rises to 
that highest object of contempla- 
tion on which the closing pages 
of Schopenhauer's first great work 
contain an eloquent rhapsody. A 
third investigation belongs to more 
recent times, and is not yet con- 
cluded. It would have to show 
how, psychologically, the perplex- 
ity has arisen out of the three 
notions of Self, which we involun- 
tarily form in early life and which 
are continually intermingled and 
superposed in all our reflective and 
practical mental operations : the 
Self as one among many other 
Selves, its equals; the Self as 
pictured to us through the mem- 
ory of past experience; and the 
Self as the sensations and feelings 
of the present moment. Begin- 
nings of this psychological analysis 
are to be found in Renouvier s 
' Essais de Critique G^nerale. ' See 
also papers by Josiah Royce m 
' Philosophical Review ' (Sept. 1894, 
Sept. and Nov. 1895). 

1 We may get out of this dim- 
culty, which applies as much to 
Kant's as to Spencer's Unknowable, 
by looking upon it as a limiting 



There were several reasons which prevented Kant 
from destroying the remnant of reality which he assigned 
to external things. When it was pointed out to him by 
some of his critics that the logical consequence of his 
doctrine would be to negative altogether the conception 
of Things in themselves, and that this would lead inevit- 
ably to the position taken up by Berkeley, he strongly n. 
objected to the statement, maintaining that this would tion to""^' 
be leading back to the position of idealism, the refuta- 
tion of which was one of the main objects of his critical 
philosophy. Whilst he insisted that all we know about 
things was what followed from our own sensuous and 


conception. An analysis of ex- 
ternal phenomena (Kant) or of 
experience in general (Spencer) 
seems to leave an unexhausted 
Something without which neither 
the Unity, nor the "Together," nor 
the immediate evidence of phen- 
omena, can be explained. We 
seem to have lost the kernel of 
reality and to grasp only the shell. 
Examples of a similarly unsatis- 
factory state of knowledge are, 
however, so to speak, of daily 
occurrence. A prominent example 
is the impossibility of defining life, 
that Something which distinguishes 
a dead from a living organism. 
We seem to grasp this only by the 
synoptical function of some sense, 
be this lower or higher, physical 
or spiritual. It can, so to speak, 
only be seen and experienced but 
not reproduced by any synthetic 
action of the intellect. A more 
serious objection attaches to Kant's 
Unknowable which does not in the 
same degree apply to that of 
Spencer. It recurs again in deal- 
p^u^S^ Schopenhauer's doctrine, 
lioth Kant and Schopenhauer, fol- 
lowmg Hume, consider Causation 
as a subjective form or habit of 

thought, but they nevertheless 
— as Jacobi had pointed out in 
dealing with Kant's view — apply 
this category to. the "Unknowable 
Thing in Itself" which lies, as it 
were, beyond or beneath the region 
of experience, whereas causation 
refers only— it is maintained— to 
things as they appear. A third 
objection which has been urged 
against Kant's Unknowable, and 
which does not apply to that of 
Spencer, is this: that Kant does 
not only speak of the Thing in 
itself, but goes even the length of 
speaking of Things in themselves. 
This plural is, as Lotze amongst 
others has remarked, quite un- 
justifiable, as no reason exists to 
conceive of the Unknown as a 
plurality and not as a unity. In 
fact, as the former error consisted 
in transferring and applying the 
phenomenal category of causation 
to that which is supposed not to 
enter into the phenomenal world 
at all, so, in the other instance, 
the error arises through tacitly 
applying distinction which de- 
pend on time and space to a 
content which is supposed to be 
outside of time and space. 





intellectual nature, he as strongly insisted upon the 
reality of at least a portion of our perceptions — viz., 
those which were not merely subjective creations or 
illusions, but which were supported by some underlying 
ground or substance. This was evident through the fact 
that, not only our own subject or person, but likewise 
other persons around us, participated in the same experi- 
ence. An agreement with other observinor and thinkincr 
beings would not be possible without some common point 
of reference. Kant also employed the intellectual cate- 
gories of substance and cause — unjustifiably as his critics 
maintained — to define more clearly the relation of the 
Noumenon or Thing in itself to the phenomenal world. 
But probably the greatest interest which, in his mind, 
attached to this purely noumenal and intelligible,^ but 
not perceptible, entity was the importance that this 
distinction acquired when applied to our own personal 
self. Here, in the region of our inner experience, he 
found a similar dualism, a similar contrast, between 
what he called the phenomenal and the real self. In 
opposition to the phenomena which constitute our chang- 
ing experience, the fleeting moments of our inner life, he 
detected a unifying principle, a regulative agency. This 
was Eeason itself, which was intellectually a regulative, 
practically an active principle, and the very essence of this 

^ In the Kantian vocabulary, fol- 
lowing earlier usage, the word 
"Intelligible" had a different 
meaning from that which it has 
acquired in the English language. 
Intelligible means with Kant that 
which we can think about but not 
see or perceive by our senses. It 
is the noumenon as distinguished 
from the phenomenon ; it has 

therefore quite a different mean- 
ing, in fact an opposite meaning, 
to the word as used in current 
English, where it signifies that 
which we can understand. The 
difference is clearly marked in 
the title of one of Kant's earlier 
Treatises : ' De mundi sensibilis et 
intelligibilis forma ac principiis ' 



unifying and active principle— our Will— he conceived 
to stand in a relation to the changing events of our 
inner life like that of the Thing in itself to the changing 
phenomena of that outer experience which we call the 
external world, and which we have in common with other 
intelligent beings, our fellow-men. In fact the Will, in 
its self-restrained freedom, was as much the noumenal 
ground of our own self, its intelligible character, as the 
Thing in itself was the noumenal ground of external 
things with their merely apparent reality. Erom this 
point onward the real importance of Kant's philosophy 
is to be found in the stress which he laid upon the self- 
restraining freedom of the Will that brought with it its 
own law, the " Categorical Imperative," the " Ought " of 
our moral nature, the second and higher Eeality which 
he regarded with wonder and veneration.^ 

Before we proceed to see how the various suggestions 
contained in Kant's doctrine were taken up by his suc- 
cessors, it is important to point out again how much of 
the novelty of Kant's teaching lay in that strange, yet 
teUing and impressive, terminology which he invented, 
and through which he laid stress upon the different 
aspects in which the Eeal makes itself apparent to us. 
It is possible and has since been variously attempted to 
put Kant's ideas into the language of earlier philosophers, 
employing the terms used by Aristotle in older, or by 
Spmoza in more recent times, also to show how almost 
every one of his single statements was anticipated by one 
or the other of his predecessors. But this would not efface 
the historical fact that Kant, through his original way of 

See the celebrated passage quoted supra, p. 29. 


His " Cate- 
gorical Im- 


of his ter- 




stating the eternal truths and formulating the everlasting 
problems of knowing and being, succeeded in imparting 
to these subjects a fresh interest, inspiring his age with 
the courage to attack them once more and with the 
belief in their ultimate solubility. 

In the last chapter, when dealing with the problem of 
Knowledge and Kant's epoch-making contributions to 
its solution, I pointed out how in his various suggestions 
may be found indications of the several further develop- 
ments which the problem underwent in the course of 
the nineteenth century. Dealing now with Eeality, we 
can similarly point to Kant's writings as containing or 
suggesting the different aspects which the problem as- 
sumed with his successors, and we can accordingly 
classify their contributions according to these different 
aspects contained implicitly in Kant's teaching. Fichte, 
the greatest among Kant's immediate followers, has 
^'Jt^t'^s pointed to the threefold meaning which the word reality 
^*^^' had for Kant: see a remarkable passage^ in his lectures 
on " Wissenschaf tslehre " from the year 1804. In this 
passage he uses the expression, the Absolute, — a term 
frequently employed in earlier philosophies, and which 
in the present connection may be considered synonymous 
with what I have termed the central Eeality or the truly 
Eeal. Fichte finds that Kant made three important at- 
tempts to determine the Absolute, corresponding to the 
three critiques. " In the Critique of Pure Eeason sensuous 
experience was for him the absolute, ... in a consistent 
exposition of the principles which he there adopted the 
supersensuous world would have to disappear altogether, 

^ Nachlass XL, p. 103. 

Fichte on 



and, as the only Noumenon, would remain, that which 
' is ' since it can be realised in experience. . . . The hicrh 
moral nature of the man, however, corrected the philo- 
sopher, and so there appeared the Critique of Practical 
Eeason. In it appeared the ' self ' " (or subject) " through 
the inherent categorical notion " (i.e., through its self- 
assertion) " as something by itself ; and thus we get the 
second absolute " (or reality), " the moral world. Yet all 
the phenomena of human nature were not thereby ex- 
plained. . . . Moreover, what is still more important, 
the empirical world was now lost in the moral world as 
the one world in itself " (i.e., as the truly Eeal), " — a just 
retribution for its former victory over the moral world : 
and now there appeared the Critique of Judgment, and in it 
. . . the confession that the supersensuous and sensuous 
worlds must have some common though quite unknow- 
able root, which root was the third absolute." From this 
passage we can see how three distinct ways were opened 
out to Kant's successors. Which of the three ways was 
adopted would depend upon the mental bias of the indi- 
vidual thinker, but also upon the practical interest by 
which his speculations were prompted. To those who 
move in the world of external realities, of the actual 
observable things and phenomena which surround us, 
i.e., to the natural philosophers, the problem of reality 
would primarily consist in seeking an answer to the 
questions — What is the criterion of reality in external 
things ? What is their essence ? How is the real and 
actual to be distinguished from the imaginary or illusory ? 
For a second class of thinkers whose interest lies in the 
mental and moral, as opposed to the physical, Hfe of 


> 11 



ft r 





mankind, those who are termed philosophers par excel- 
lence, the paramount question would be: What is the 
essential reality of the moral life of man and mankind ? 
and what is its relation to the physical world? No 
doubt either of the two types of thinkers would in due 
course be led to the consideration of the other or opposite 
reality; the natural philosopher would have to ascend 
from matter to mind or to penetrate from the outer to the 
inner phenomena ; the moral philosopher would try to 
sain an understanding of the outer world, of the environ- 
ment upon which the development of mind and character 
depends. But there is a third position possible, a point 
of view suggests itself which, if attainable, would tran- 
scend or supersede equally the two aspects just mentioned. 
It is a view which has naturally suggested itself at all 
times to youthful and ardent minds when first confronted 
with the problem of reality. It is the attempt to assume 
at once that the two realities are essentially one, that 
they have, as Fichte says, a common root. This finds 
confirmation in the fact that, in the higher spheres of 
mental activity, notably in poetry, art, and religion, this 
higher unity is presupposed, and that the greatest work 
in these regions emanates from a belief in it. 

To those of my readers who have realised the import- 
ance which the Ideal of Humanity, in an elevated sense of 
the word, had acquired in German culture at the end of 
the eighteenth century, how it was upheld and repre- 
sented at Weimar and Jena by leaders of thought such 
as Herder, Goethe, and Schiller, and how from there, as 
a centre, a new spirit and a new life spread all over 
Germany, it will not be surprising that, of the three 



aspects of reality just mentioned, the last should be held 
up and proclaimed by Fichte and Schelling, and that their ^5 
predecessor in the philosophical chair, Keinhold, should siheiiin^. 
find in Fichte's version of the Kantian doctrine the 
realisation of what he and other followers of Kant were 
striving after. In the passage quoted above from his 
lectures, Fichte goes on to say that his independent 
speculation was historically connected with Kant in this, 
its essence : " that it explores the root which to Kant 
seemed undiscoverable, but in which the sensuous and 
supersensuous worlds are united, and that its task con- 
sists in the actual and intelligible deduction of these two 
worlds from one principle." Once proclaimed by Fichte, 
this task became and remained the grand problem of 
philosophy for a whole generation of thinkers. At the 
same time Fichte admitted that this higher unity could 
not be reached by a psychological or logical train of 
reasoning, by an analysis such as Kant had employed, 
but that it must be reached by a process of intellectual le. 

intuition,^ — -i.e., it must, as Lotze says, be guessed or uai intui- 

^ It is unfortunate that the 
English language possesses no 
term equivalent to the German 
Anschauung. The word intuition 
seems to imply something akin, 
though perhaps inferior, to inspira- 
tion, whereas the German word 
Anschauung implies something 
akin, though perhaps superior, to 
seeing or perceiving by means of 
the senses. Anschauung is thus 
more nearly equivalent to sight ; 
Intellectuelle Anschauung might be 
rendered by "intellectual sight." 
The German term plays an im- 
portant part in the philosophies of 
Fichte and Schelling, but was dis- 
carded by Hegel as too vague. The 

use which the two former thinkers 
made of the term connects them 
with Kant as well as with Spinoza. 
Kant did not use the term in his 
' First Critique, ' but, as Kuno 
Fischer has pointed out, employs 
instead " pure apperception " and 
" transcendental apperception," the 
unity of the perceiving and think- 
ing subject or, as Fichte termed 
it, the Ego. But through the 
influence of Spinoza's writings, 
with which, as already stated, 
German thinkers after Kant be- 
came acquainted through Lessing 
and Jacobi, the term acquired a 
meaning somewhat akin to the 
amor intdlectuaZis Dei of Spinoza. 

" 111 





I- I 




divined, for it presents itself to the human mind in the 
immediacy of feeling and not by discursive thought. 

Fichte emphasises in this way an important truth 
which, again and again, rises up in the history of 
thought, be this philosophical, poetical, or religious : If 
the human mind is at all capable of understanding, inter- 
preting, or ideally reconstructing the world which sur- 
rounds it and of which it forms a part — i.e., if it is at all 
capable of approaching the essence of reality— some point 
must exist where it is at one with the Absolute, the 
truly Keal ; and only when this point is reached — i.e., sub 
specie unitatis et ceternitatis — wHl it arrive at, and support, 
the conviction of the universal Order and meaning of 
things. From this point of view, so difficult to reach 
and so easily lost again, we should then be able to grasp 

Therefore, as Kuno Fischer has 
remarked : "In the first use of 
the term Fichte agreed with Kant 
in maintaining an intellectual intui- 
tion as equivalent to the immedi- 
ate self -consciousness of the sub- 
ject. The principle of Wissen- 
schaftslehre is the intellect in 
its self - observation. This self- 
observation of the intellect or 
the original act through which 
consciousness becomes its own ob- 
ject is called by Fichte Intellectuelle 
Anschauung ; it is the original act 
of self-consciousness or of the Ego. 
Whoever ascribes to himself an ac- 
tivity appeals to this Anschauung; 
in it is the source of life, and 
without it there is death" (Kuno 
Fischer, 'Geschichte der neueren 
Philosophie,' " Fichte," 1st ed., p. 
476, with quotations from Fichte's 
* Second Introduction,' Works, 
vol. i. pp. 451 sqq.) Subse- 
quently, through a remark which 
Kant made in his ' Third Critique,' 

the term acquired a more preg- 
nant meaning. "Kant demon- 
strates from the conditions of 
human reasoning the impossibility 
of an intellectual sight, or of an in- 
tuitive intellect ; the impossibihty 
of a faculty for which the Thing 
in itself would be an object ; the 
incognoscibility of Things in them- 
selves and the impossibility of an 
intellectual sight are for Kant one 
and the same thing. In this sense 
Kant denies intellectual sight ; in 
this sense Fichte denies it like- 
wise " (Kuno Fischer, loc. cit, 
p. 478). But it is just this sug- 
gestion made but not accepted 
by Kant in his 'Third Critique 
which had a special attraction for 
Schelling, to whom it seems as if 
Lotze's remark applies more im- 
mediately than to Fichte, thougli 
the latter subsequently, not unlike 
Jacobi, seems to admit a similar 
conception under the designation 
of religious faith. 



the meaning of those dualities and contrasts which we 
find around and in us, the difference of self and not self, 
of mind and matter, of subject and object, of appearance 
and reality, of truth and semblance. Fichte's endeavour 
is to bring, in many ways, this truth home to his hearers 
and readers : nor is there any doubt that he found as 
much in them an expectant and appreciative audience 
as they, on the other side, found in him an expositor 
of these sublime reflections : for he had understood the 
signs of the times, the want of the age, and also the 
way to satisfy it. The very fact that he appeared to 
his listeners as continually seeking, and never quite 
finding, the right expression for his central idea, kept 
them alive and intent upon following and assisting him 
in this arduous enterprise ; for he only gave ex- 
pression to conceptions which others around him had 
hkewise, though vaguely, formed for themselves, and 
to express which was the untiring endeavour of that 

But it was not in the spirit of Fichte's philosophy to 
remain content with an intuitive knowledge of the exist- 
ence of this underlying unity of the Absolute. His was 
not a contemplative nature like that of Spinoza, who, 
before him, had given expression to the same idea, 
whose writings were at that time much studied in the 
circle to which Fichte belonged, and who had a growing 
influence upon the successors of Kant. Fichte's was an n. 

• _ ^ Fichte's 

emmently active and practical nature, not practical practical 
mdeed in the lower and everyday meaning of the word, 
but practical in that elevated region in which the great 
mmds which surrounded him were living and into which 


1 1 


1 1 












it was their and his object to raise the interests and 
thoughts of the academic youth of Germany. That this 
was not only an aim which he had constantly in view, 
but that he also, to a large extent, realised it, is known 
by the reform which he worked among the students of 
the University of Jena. From this reform emanated, to 
a large extent, a wave of elevated feeling and aspiration ; 
it stirred up the life which had for a long time been 
stagnant in the German high schools and universities. 
From that age onward they entered into a new phase 
and put on an entirely changed character. In this 
respect Fichte joined hands, from the highest regions of 
philosophic thought, with Pestalozzi who worked upwards 
from the innermost recesses of the hearts of the people. 
Fichte did for the select few what Pestalozzi did for 
the many. This practical tendency in Fichte's nature 
allowed him to realise, better than any other disciple 
of Kant's, the great moral influence of Kant's practical 
philosophy. He felt distinctly what Kant meant by the 
Categorical Imperative, by the self-restraining power of 
the human Will. In his search for an expression where- 
with to describe the essence of the truly Keal or the 
Absolute, he fixed upon this idea contained in Kant's 
philosophy ; the truly Keal was to him — Action or Self- 

Now, if we try to analyse this idea of Self-realisation 
which seems to me to be the most suitable rendering of 
the somewhat abstruse sentences and oracular sayings in 
which Fichte's discourses abound, we shall at once see 
how this conception led Fichte away from the position 
occupied by Kant into entirely different lines of reason- 

ing, which for a long time became characteristic of 
German philosophy. 

Kant's analysis, though it called itself transcendental, 
moved nevertheless almost entirely within the region of 
Psycholog}^ and Logic, that is to say, within the enclosure 
of an individually thinking, feeling, and willing person- 
aHty. It is true that what he related or described in 
his several Critiques professed to refer to what all think- 
ing, feeling, and willing minds have in common. His 
psychology and theory of knowledge moved, as little as 
did that of Locke and his school, within the region of the 
purely subjective ; nevertheless all his statements refer 
to what any individual mind could — or must — personally 
observe and realise within itself. There is no doubt 
that, in various passages of his two later Critiques, Kant 
hinted at the conception of a position which was elevated 
above and beyond the casualties of ordinary experience 
or of merely subjective impulses. The Categorical Im- 
perative, the " Ought " of our moral nature, the highest 
moral law as well as the possibility of an intuitive intel- 
lect, all these conceptions refer to something which ante- 
cedes or supersedes casual, subjective, and temporary 
facts and events. This suggestion Fichte took in real 
earnest. He postulated, at the entrance of his philosophy, 
an elevation of the thinking mind into that region where 
the everyday distinctions of subject and object and of 
many persons or selves would disappear. He here met 
with the same difficulty of " solipsism " which confronted 
Berkeley when he started from his own idealistic point 
of view. The existence of many minds or selves with a 
common world of objects obliged Berkeley to fall back 


2 F 




ui« S I 

> : 



a process 



on the theological conception of a transcendent mind, 
and Fichte to take the word mind or self to mean a kind 
of universal mind, in which all single minds are merged 
or united. With this step his speculation, and German 
speculation in general, left the region of actual psycho- 
logical analysis. It became not only transcendental but 

The second important step which Fichte took was in- 
volved in his attempt to conceive the nature of the truly 
Real or the Absolute as activity, or, as he also calls it, as 
a sequence of impulses towards action. In this concep- 
tion is involved the admission that the truly Real is a 
process, not a substance in the sense of Spinoza. And